FOX Delivers 1.0 Overnight Rating For Chelsea vs Manchester United on US TV

FOX delivered a 1.0 overnight rating for its February 5, 2002 live broadcast of Chelsea against Manchester United.

The rating is higher than the 0.9 that Arsenal against Manchester United generated, but lower than the 1.3 rating for the November 20, 2011 broadcast of Chelsea against Liverpool, which was shown on tape delay.

It’s good news to see that the rating for the 3-3 draw between Chelsea and Manchester United was greater than the Arsenal versus Manchester United match from January 20, 2012. Progress was made there, but based on the ratings data, it again points to the need for games to be shown live on FOX Soccer and shown on delay on the free-to-air network later in the day in order to maximize the most amount of viewers.

The rating is the percentage of television households tuned to a broadcast.

31 thoughts on “FOX Delivers 1.0 Overnight Rating For Chelsea vs Manchester United on US TV”

  1. If the delayed broadcast was a MOTD format and not pre-selected before the weekend, would that draw more of an audience? It would give no excuse on poor analysis, since all the talking points and key moments are out there to choose from, but it would also guarantee a good game and an enjoyable game, as opposed to the current guarantee of a match-up between popular teams.

    1. I really agree with this. They should show the Premier League Review show that they show on FSC on standard Fox, then perhaps keep the earlier morning live games.

  2. The rating system is FLAWED. It’s based of Nielsen which has a very huge bias in what will get ratings and what won’t. Only a small percentage of the population actually have a Nielsen system in their house yet execs use this flawed data to determine what airs and what doesn’t.

    1. Care to explain what exactly is “flawed” about Nielsen?

      The country’s biggest, wealthiest companies — run by extremely bright people whose decision-making puts their jobs are on the line — seem to have no problem using Nielsen data to direct billions of advertising dollars to television programming every year.

      Yet message-board Mark is here to declare that Nielsen data should be discounted.

      Huh. Who to believe: the ad executives with billions of dollars and jobs on the line, or message-board Mark?

      1. I’ll never believe Neilsen ratings prove what people are watching. Just because a bunch of idiots place their jobs on the line for them doesn’t mean anything to me. It just means you believe what Neilsen claims.

        The cable companies should release their data , because these corporations actually have the ability to see what a larger group of households are watching.

        Instead, we have Neilsen families to believe. It’s not the 1950’s , sorry to tell you..

        1. “I’ll never believe Neilsen ratings prove what people are watching. “

          Well, you’re welcome to not “believe” whatever you choose to not “believe.”

          But in the real world, where smart people understand statistics and sampling, and where actual, massive MONEY is on the line, the TV ratings system is regarded as a reliable benchmark of Americans’ viewing choices.

          Is Nielsen perfect? Of course not. Short of videotaping the remote-control clicks of every human being in the United States, no ratings system is going to be perfect. But Nielsen is really darned good. I know it’s easy to sit there in your den or dorm room and scoff, but once again: Until you’re the one who has a multimillion-dollar ad budget at stake, maybe you should stop and give it a little credence to those who do.

          All that said, I actually do think the ratings for soccer (and all sports broadcasts) are undercounted. That’s because those ratings account partially, but not fully, for viewings in places such as bars, college campuses, etc. But keep in mind that if this is a problem, it’s a problem for all sports broadcasts, and so ultimately it’s a wash. In other words, regardless of actual numbers, it still provides a handy comparative picture: You can still compare a soccer-match rating with, say, a college-basketball rating and get a basic snapshot of where they each stand.

          1. Neilson was once legitimate, but less and less people are watching televisions, they are getting their content online. Their sample size is far too small for this time and age. Why else do you think Fox News leads in rating? the 5,000 people who have Neilson boxes in their homes are a poor sample. You’re foolish if you think otherwise.

          2. That’s right, I don’t believe that 24k people are representative of the TV viewership of America. The cable companies should combine their data, and you would have something like 80% of the TV data shown. This would actually be better data, and reflect on who is watching what on TV.

            I understand it’s money related, but, people waste money all the time. So what’s new? If they want to continue to toss money at that company, more power to them. But, believing Neilson’s data is 100% accurate is no different from me believing isn’t not, just means you value someone spending money on it.

      2. Neilsen uses a sample size of about 5,000 TV sets to judge the TV habits of a nation of more than 300,000.

        Do you currently have a Neilsen box in your house?

        Do you know anyone who has ever had one in their house?

        I bet you answer no to either.

        As far as Soccer in America goes, Neilsen boxes don’t include viewship in bars/pubs which is where many US fans go to watch games.

        You’re clueless TOGID.

        1. “Do you know anyone who has ever had one in their house?”

          Yes, actually. I know several households who have had diaries and/or set meters in their homes.

          What’s kinda weird about posts like yours (and some of the ones above) is the sheer, brazen confidence you have in your snap judgments about complex topics like statistics, sampling sizes, etc. I’m sure you’re a cool guy (you’re on a soccer forum, after all), but you’re not giving enough credence to the fact that there are other people who are REALLY, REALLY SMART about this stuff, and they know what they’re doing.

          If Nielsen weren’t considered accurate — or more to the point, accurate enough — then it wouldn’t hold such a valued role in the decisions of television executives, advertising specialists, corporate spenders, etc.

          You’re acting as if the entire television and advertising industry is too clueless to see some Important Truth About Ratings that you’re magically capable of seeing. If Nielsen actually sucked and led to really screwed-up decisions about programming and ad placement, then the natural mechanics of the free market would have gotten rid of it a long time ago.

    2. 1) It uses sampling to determine how shows are rated. About 1 family to 20,000 or so. Considering that the number of Nielsen families have been dropping the last 10 years and I don’t see that improving anytime, the sampling bracket is only going to get bigger and bigger and more inaccurate.

      2) People are getting their media fix from way more sources than just TV. Nielsen worked fine in the 60’s, 70’s or the times when there was only ONE source of tube based entertainment in the house. That isn’t the case any longer. You have people watching on Hulu, Netflix, YouTube, you can rent TV shows on Android Market, iTunes, epix, you can watch on your laptop, smartphone, tablets, gaming console even handhelds. The number of screens and sources of getting this entertainment is growing rapidly yet media execs continue to rely on a system still stuck in the stone age. How can you look at this and say the system isn’t outdated.

      3) Don’t forget how their boxes work. You have to manually program in the age and sex of everyone in the room at-the-time-they-are-there. Can you imagine the inaccuracy during holidays? Or parties? How about when a family of five has a box, and it’s bedtime for the youngsters but the parents are too lazy to change the box. Suddenly you have three kids under the age of eight logged in as watching Southland or Law and Order SVU.

      4) You’re probably wondering, “well, why does the whole industry rely on it?” Because it is the ONLY ratings system in the country. There is NO competition. The execs probably like it that way too as it is much easier to control what the ratings are, easier to inflict their own varying degrees of bias into it.

      I also found an article that explains the whole thing in depth:

      1. Good points, I agree with you. I truly believe that the cable companies should do it. I realize that some people wouldn’t trust it, because it would lose the independent idea, but, another company could use their data to show the truth.

    3. Statistically, it’s not the percentage of households that is important, it is the absolute sample size, and I assure you the Nielsen sample is quite large– more than enough to use for making decisions. The more interesting question is how much data do the cable companies have now from people with digital tuners and DVRs? Surely the data there are massive, but we don’t even know who is using this data or how.

  3. I disagree on showing any games delayed if you are trying to encourage new viewers to watch. I am not a fan of delayed matches and that is the reason I cancelled my subscription to I can not even turn on my laptop or PS3 with out seeing the days scores.

    Delayed matches will not sit well with the American population. 40-45% of the US population has a smart phone. Not sure what fox would consider the target market for a English League game but if it is near the 18 – 34 year old demographic, the number of smart phone users doubles. Around half of those users are on their phone while watching tv. Delayed matches will cause people to check the score and lose interest before the end of the match. Sponsors are going to drive the content selection for major channels and no sponsor wants to pay to have advertising on something that loses half its viewers before the end of the game. Advertising is already difficult for soccer broadcasts in the states and not showing live events makes it that much more difficult.

    1. Nielsen ratings do not measure whether an entire program was watched.

      Like it or not advertising and sponsorships run professional sports in the states. Until those companies jump on board or figure out a way to advertise with soccer successfully. We are going to continue to get the short end of the stick on broadcasts whether delayed, in a foreign language, or on expensive cable add on channels.

      Many may disagree but I do not think you can convert a casual fan into a soccer fan by showing old games. There is a reason the NFL plays a game in England every year. There is a reason the NBA tours Asia and plays live games. Broadcasting old/tape delay games will only interest people to a point.

  4. Most American fans are casuals and won’t care if it’s prerecorded. Having it not so early in the morning would be a blessing not a curse as the match between Chelsea and Liverpool proves (a lower profile match than the Blues against the EPL champs). It’d be better if Fox’s production wasn’t so bad. But ultimately it will just take repetition.

    1. If you mean “most American soccer fans” are casuals, I disagree. If you mean, as you say, “Most American fans” (as in sports fans) are casuals, I would agree with you. There’s a big difference between the two. And a big difference in what these groups will expect.

      The Gaffer

  5. Is there any way to stop this infernal “Gravatar” pop-up from commandeering my screen every frigging time I visit a comments thread here?

    (And to cut the wiseacres off at the pass: besides registering for a Gravatar, I mean.)

    It’s pretty irksome, to be honest. Maybe I’ll get a Gravatar at some point. Maybe I won’t. A gentle nudging is fine; slapping an annoying box atop the page every time I visit is not. It’s getting to the point that I hesitate to click an EPLTalk thread.

    With all due respect, I think you guys need to decide if bugging us about Gravatars is really more important than facilitating a seamless and pleasant user experience.

  6. so Togid rails about an Internet poster for challenging the opinions and effectiveness of a giant corporation then again someone calling himself ‘togid” does the exact same crime- talking about a subject he himself knows nothing about or even tried to research. There have been several studies on Nielson’s flaws (1 most people claim they watch shows they don’t really watch- it’s a diary) There are lots of studies about this including

    There are even better rating systems being used and deemed more accurate, btw Nielson doesn’t factor in DVRing and other media access points outside the TV and what about public viewing at bars but hey corporations never make a mistake especially rich ones (ignore housing crisis and wall street, banks, car industry, Fema…yeah it’s unprecedented. Even if you were correct what’s the point of making your point like a doosh, attack the idea not the man

    1. I already acknowledged the issues with Nielsen’s undercounting of group settings (bars, parties, dorms). I also noted how this has a particular implication for sports broadcasts, which tend to involve more group viewings than most other TV programming.

      And what’s with the off-kilter “corporations” rant there? My point has nothing to do with “corporations” qua corporations. I couldn’t care less about corporations. My point is simply about the role of incentives in the marketplace: There are people have gazillion-dollar incentives to ensure that their ad dollars are being spent wisely and effectively — and with severe consequences awaiting if they get it wrong.

      It tells me a lot that they use Nielsen to help guide that spending and avoid those consequences. It certainly tells me a lot more than the kneejerk skepticism of somebody who has no dog in the fight.

      1. And by the way, a couple other items here:

        — “TOGID” is just short for “This One Guy In Detroit,” which is the handle I used here for several years. There was a stretch last year where EPLTalk wasn’t saving login information in some browsers, and I got tired of typing the whole thing out every time, so I switched to that weird-looking acronym to save time.

        — Look: I really, really, really wish that the ratings from these EPL broadcasts (and MLS too, for that matter) were higher than they’ve been. And I really do think there’s some undercounting going on, mostly because of the group-viewing stuff we’ve just talked about. I have no doubt that the soccer-viewing audience in the United States is larger than these ratings often indicate.

        But I don’t think these exemplify “flaws” with Nielsen in and of itself. Nielsen measures what it measures, and it does that well. Whether it should seek ways to measure more viewing situations — well, that’s a whole different question. But that wasn’t the question that started this whole argument. What started this argument was the assertion that Nielsen is “flawed.” And I just think that’s a questionable assertion. Nielsen measures one thing: household viewing. And that one thing, it measures well.

        That’s all.

  7. So, The game was promoted as “Game of the Year” etc. Well, it was a great advert for EPL for sure, all the excitement and the final score and that great last minute save by Uniteds keeper. I have already received feedback from non-soccer fans who said they were VERY impressed with the excitement and the scoreline etc.
    Brilliant that FOX main stream here in Fox NYC had it live. Great advert for EPL.

  8. Don’t discount the early morning start for the West Coast…major cities like LA, San Francisco (sister channel), San Diego, Seattle have been impacted by early morning starts.

    Some stations still didn’t show the game live, some impact on the ratings. In some markets, the game was shown on a sister network (like San Francisco). The sister network tends to be low-tiered channel.

    The game was also available on FOX Deportes (add 300k-500k to FOX’s number)

    Summary: Getting around 1.5 million viewers to watch EPL on FOX is impressive (Total will be around 1.8-2.0 million when you add FOX Deportes). This is the first season for FOX showing EPL matches live or tape-delayed. The numbers will grow in subsequent years as more EPL matches end-up on the broadcast channels.

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