ESPN Moves Arsenal-Sunderland EPL Season Opener From ESPN2 to ESPN

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.

11 thoughts on “ESPN Moves Arsenal-Sunderland EPL Season Opener From ESPN2 to ESPN”

    1. Fox Soccer has done a better job in recent years with the CL, but I still can’t forgive them when they decided to show a freaking Chelsea-Zilina match over AC Milan-Real Madrid. Luckily this time they show more than 1 match live at a time on other networks

  1. I know coverage of soccer in the United States is light years ahead of what it was, say 10 years ago, so I might sound a bit ungrateful in saying this, but soccer coverage on every non-ESPN channel seems so amateur hour. I acknowledge the Champions League coverage on FOX has been more comprehensive. But just getting FSC in HD was a challenge. At least on ESPN, I can depend on the quality of the production. It’s nice to see them willing to put this kind of game on their premier channel.

  2. Would somebody please tell me the numbers of these 2 channels as the one that normally shows the footie is 417. Never heard of espn 2………

  3. It’s a nice and smart move by ESPN. They could possibly do it for the second weekend as well. After that the matches will for sure have to be on ESPN2 until January. Since that’s the start of the college football season, and College Gameday is always on ESPN at that time.

    1. For the second Saturday of the Premier League season, ESPN only has rights to the 7.45am ET matchup (a big one between Swansea and West Ham), so they unless they’re interested in moving a 7.45am kickoff to ESPN, that’s their only choice. They won’t be able to do a 10am ET game that day because FOX Soccer has the rights.

      The Gaffer

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