EXCLUSIVE: ESPN, the most successful sports network in the United States, has decided to begin its coverage of the 2012-13 Premier League season by moving its season opening telecast of Arsenal and Sunderland from ESPN2 to ESPN.
Every season, the Premier League viewing experience on United States television takes a giant leap — in both TV ratings and the way we experience it. The 2012-13 season will be no different. The significance of moving the August 18 matchup between Arsenal and Sunderland is huge. ESPN2, which has carved out a very loyal following of soccer fans every Saturday morning during the Premier League season, has the same number of TV subscribers as ESPN (99 million), but the cache of having the Premier League on ESPN for opening day of the season is very exciting. Plus, it’ll hopefully give the game a ratings boost.
“Last season’s Manchester derby broadcast on ESPN ended up being the most-watched Premier League game in U.S. cable television history. We believe this is a great opportunity to serve soccer fans with the first match of the 2012-2013 Premier League season,” said Brian Kweder, ESPN senior director, programming and acquisitions.
More than 1 million viewers watched the April 30 derby on ESPN between Manchester City and Manchester United.
Stay up-to-date on the latest US TV schedule of Premier League games on television and the Internet.
Meanwhile, be sure to tell your soccer friends and fellow supporters that Arsenal-Sunderland has switched from ESPN2 to ESPN.