FOX Sports has decided to show the January 22 game between Arsenal against Manchester United live on the free-to-air FOX network instead of FOX Soccer. The decision was undoubtedly made due to the success of the TV ratings for the Premier League games that FOX has shown next to NFL programming,
“We see a tremendous opportunity to broaden exposure in the U.S. for the world’s best soccer competitions,” said FOX Sports Co-President & COO Eric Shanks. “We’ve broken viewership records with each subsequent FOX broadcast and we are thrilled audiences are responding as we make matches more widely available.”
The broadcast of Arsenal against Manchester United will begin at 10:30am ET on FOX, while the game will kick-off at 11am. It’ll be the first time a live Premier League game has been shown live on free-to-air network television.
On Sunday, Sept. 18, the FOX network presented Manchester United vs. Chelsea, followed by Tottenham-Arsenal on Sunday, Oct. 2 and Chelsea-Liverpool on Sunday, Nov. 20. All three broadcasts were shown on tape-delay which either preceded or followed the locally televised NFL on FOX game, and came after FOX Soccer’s live coverage earlier in the day.
FOX’s broadcast of Liverpool’s 2-1 defeat of Chelsea on Nov. 20 is the most-watched Barclays Premier League match of the three on the network, delivering a 1.1 household rating, with 1.67 million total viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research. Of the five international soccer matches broadcast on FOX since 2010, only 2011s UEFA Champions League Final between Barcelona and Manchester United drew a bigger audience (2.6 million) than Chelsea-Liverpool in November.
Showing the Arsenal against Manchester United live on free-to-air television in the United States will hopefully boost FOX’s TV ratings for the live broadcast of Chelsea against Manchester United, scheduled to be shown live on Super Bowl Sunday on FOX at 11am ET.