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Man United v Arsenal TV Audience Breaks EPL Record In U.S.

ESPN this week broke the record for the largest TV viewing audience ever for a Premier League match shown on U.S. television. The game between Manchester United and Arsenal, which was shown live on ESPN2 at 3pm ET on Monday, December 13, 2010 scored a 0.4 rating and was watched by an estimated 570,000 viewers.

The previous record for a Premier League match shown on U.S. television was the April 3, 2010 game between Manchester United and Chelsea. That broadcast garnered a 0.4 rating with an estimated viewing audience of 526,000. The new record of 570,000 viewers represents an 8% increase compared to the previous record audience of 526,000. That Manchester United against Chelsea match was a Saturday, 7:45am ET kick-off. Prior to the United against Chelsea record, the highest viewing audience for a Premier League game on U.S. television was in August 2009 when 398,391 watched Liverpool versus Aston Villa.

ESPN also broke another record this week. In its first year of televising Premier League games, ESPN Deportes achieved a 2.4 Hispanic rating for its live broadcast of Manchester United against Arsenal. That translates into an estimated 175,000 viewers, which is a record for the network.

The next high profile Premier League match to be shown on U.S. television is this Sunday’s clash between Chelsea and Manchester United. The game will be shown live on Fox Soccer Channel beginning at 11am ET.

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About Christopher Harris

Founder and publisher of World Soccer Talk, Christopher Harris is the managing editor of the site. He has been interviewed by The New York Times, The Guardian and several other publications. Plus he has made appearances on NPR, BBC World, CBC, BBC Five Live, talkSPORT and beIN SPORT. Harris, who has lived in Florida since 1984, has supported Swansea City since 1979. He's also an expert on soccer in South Florida, and got engaged during half-time of a MLS game. Harris launched EPL Talk in 2005, which was rebranded as World Soccer Talk in 2013.
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8 Responses to Man United v Arsenal TV Audience Breaks EPL Record In U.S.

  1. John says:

    Can someone please send the above statistics to the morons who run Comcast? In case they need ANOTHER reason to take soccer seriously (besides it being the most popular sport in the known universe)…

    We want our FSCHD and our FSC+HD!

  2. jmansor says:

    Wow, that is great news. It would be interesting to see what type of audience they get for ESPN3 + ESPN Desportes + ESPN2. That could possibly reach a million with replays on ESPN3.

    I know it is a huge matchup but it is ironic that ESPN hasn’t been showing the Monday matches on TV recently. Maybe this will make them reconsider.

    • Sir Guy says:

      “…ESPN hasn’t been showing the Monday matches on TV recently. Maybe this will make them reconsider.”

      I doubt it. They obviously make some economic decision that a particular Monday match-up will not be “cost effective” and decide to go with their regular programming. It’s just another reason why, despite all the “Yes! ESPN!” hoopla, I’m not a great believer in their overall commitment to the game.

      If they ever actually bid on the EPL rights that might be a more positive sign. In the meantime remember, the ratings for an average Saturday EPL match-up are no better than what they get for their pre-canned outdoors shows, which certainly don’t cost them as much and which allow for multiple, revenue producing ad breaks.

      This is not a criticism, but bottom line ESPN is a business, so it’s always about, well, the bottom line. Soccer viewership in the U.S. is very volatile with limited opportunities to generate ad revenue. We’re lucky we have FSC. ESPN is just a bonus and likely to stay that way—-but I would love them to make a liar out of me. :-)

  3. pareesa says:


  4. Mark says:

    Now blowing by MLS on tv.

  5. eplnfl says:

    Great news. All the faithful fans here helped make it happen. What a different world we have with live ESPN games and their own on site crew. It was all a dream just a few years ago.

  6. Juice says:

    This doesn’t take account of all the folks like me streaming the match at work either :)

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