The growing popularity of the Premier League in the United States is one of the reasons why NBCSN posted record numbers for the first quarter of 2014.
NBCSN’s first quarter performance, excluding its coverage of the Winter Olympic Games, increased by 58% over 2013, which is a larger year-over-year increase than any other sports cable network in the quarter.
NBCSN delivered the Premier League’s three most-watched months ever on US sports cable, averaging a record 476,000 viewers in February, as well as 442,000 viewers in March and 414,000 viewers in January.
That compares to NBCSN’s coverage of the National Hockey League, which had an average of 375,000 viewers in the first quarter of 2014 — up 18% from the first quarter of 2012. NBCSN is on pace for its best-ever viewership for a full NHL season, averaging 358,000 viewers.
Including the numbers for the Winter Olympic Games coverage, which included an average of 1.6million viewers in the 6am-3pm ET timeslot, the first quarter of 2014 was the most-watched quarter in NBCSN’s history.
NBCSN’s first quarter total day viewership average of 215,000 jumped 231% compared to last year’s first quarter (65,000), helping NBCSN rank number one among all cable networks in year-over-year increase and more than doubling the number two cable network in growth (TeenNick, up 87%) for the quarter.
While the Premier League viewing figures continue to improve, the numbers still have a long way to go to beat the Mexican league. Sunday’s broadcast of El Super Clasico on Univision Networks reached 4.1 million total viewers, making the Chivas against Club America game the most-viewed club soccer game on any network in 2014. Out of the 4.1 million viewers, 2.4 million watched the game on UniMas while the remainder watched it on Univision Deportes.
The Chivas de Guadalajara against Club America game was shown live on television between 9-11pm ET.
Just as the numbers for NBCSN were up in the first quarter of this year compared to Q1 2013, UniMas viewing figures are up 21% with total viewers for Liga MX, the top flight soccer league in Mexico.
During El Super Clasico, UniMas stations had higher viewership than the ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX stations combined in Los Angeles among adults 18-49 and adults 18-34, and in San Francisco among adults aged 18-34. UniMas stations also had higher viewership than ESPN’s coverage of Major League Baseball in New York, Miami, Los Angeles, Houston, Dallas, Chicago, San Francisco and Phoenix among adults aged 18-49.
The next high profile Liga MX game for Univision is Saturday, April 5 at 7pm ET when Club America plays Cruz Azul in El Clasico Joven, which will air live from Azteca Stadium in Mexico City.