NBC Sports delivered its most watched Premier League broadcast to date when 1.2 million average viewers watched the South Wales derby between Swansea City and Cardiff live on the over-the-air NBC network.
The 12:30-2:30pm ET broadcast on NBC edges closer to the all-time Premier League record viewing audience in the United States, which was 1.67 million who watched Chelsea against Liverpool, which was shown on tape delay on FOX Network on a Sunday afternoon in November, 2011.
NBC’s previous record was the 1.019 million who watched Chelsea versus Manchester United on NBCSN.
The South Wales derby between Swansea and Cardiff benefited from a few factors: (1) Most importantly, the game was anchored by NBC’s coverage of the Winter Olympics, so viewers who were watching the coverage from Sochi earlier in the day may have stay tuned to the Premier League game, which was then followed by more coverage from Sochi. (2) The sacking of Michael Laudrup earlier in the week made this a more fascinating than usual match to watch. And (3), many soccer fans — even if their clubs are not involved — love watching derbies, particularly a heated one between Swansea and Cardiff, which is fueled by so much passion, hatred and tension. The first half match may have been nervy, but those viewers who watched the second half will have enjoyed seeing Swansea’s three goals against the Bluebirds.