ESPN has broken the one million viewers barrier for its live coverage of the April 30, 2012 derby between Manchester City and Manchester United.
The live broadcast of the Premier League match now ranks as the most-watched EPL game on US cable television, smashing the previous record of 610,000 viewers who watched Chelsea against Arsenal from December, 2010 (ESPN2). According to Nielsen Ratings, the Manchester derby scored a 0.8 rating and had an average of 1.033 million viewers (832,000 television homes).
This monumental achievement is even more impressive when you consider that 205,000 additional viewers watched the game on ESPN Deportes, which set a record for the most viewed Premier League telecast on the Spanish-language sports network.
Importantly, on ESPN3 and WatchESPN, an average audience of nearly 87,200 people watched the Manchester derby via computers, smartphones, tablets and Xbox, which was greater than the MLS debut on NBC Sports television.
In comparison, 1.1 million viewers watched Chelsea against Barcelona on FX recently, while the US record for the most number of TV viewers to watch a Premier League match still stands at 1.67 million who watched Chelsea against Liverpool on the free-to-air FOX network, when the game was shown on tape delay in November, 2011.
Meanwhile, FOX is reporting that the second leg of Barcelona against Chelsea was watched by 438,000 viewers on FOX Soccer, while the second leg of Real Madrid against Bayern Munich scored 627,000 viewers on FX. The four Champions League semifinals averaged 1,033,000 viewers on FOX’s English- and Spanish-language networks, up 29 percent from last year, FOX said Wednesday.
During the next few weeks, executives from ESPN and FOX will be anticipating large TV ratings for some scintillating matches coming up including the Chelsea against Bayern Munich Champions League Final, the FA Cup Final between Chelsea and Liverpool, as well as the final day of the Premier League season when the title winner will be decided.