Premier League Match On NBCSN Attracts More Viewers Than Baseball Games on FOX Sports 1

Last Saturday’s Premier League match between Newcastle United and Manchester United, which was shown live on NBCSN beginning at 10am ET, was watched by more viewers than Saturday’s Major League Baseball (MLB) games shown on FOX Sports 1.

Newcastle-Manchester United drew 469,000 viewers, which was greater than FOX Sports 1’s two MLB games that day — the 421,000 who watched the Giants against the Dodgers (televised at 4pm ET) and the Twins against the Indians (380,000 viewers), that was shown beginning at 1pm ET.

Despite the game between Newcastle and Manchester United not being a must-see as in previous seasons (Newcastle have already confirmed their Premier League survival, while Manchester United are trying to complete the season by gaining a respectable finishing place in the league), the size of the viewing audience was still impressive although nowhere near a record breaker for NBCSN.

What’s your opinion regarding NBCSN getting a greater viewing audience than baseball? Is it a reflection of soccer’s growth in the United States and the decline of baseball? Or is it that few people are watching FOX Sports 1, or another reason? Give us your opinion in the comments section below.

57 thoughts on “Premier League Match On NBCSN Attracts More Viewers Than Baseball Games on FOX Sports 1”

  1. I think NBC is doing an awesome job with their coverage of Premier League. Just love the team in the studio during match days. What an upgrade from Fox Soccer!

    1. I love this quote: “I’d rather America’s pastime die a slow death, than die a slow death myself watching America’s pastime.”

  2. It’s because Baseball is so long and boring. No excitement in the game or the fans at the stadium and there’s like 150 games.

  3. Soccer has come a long way in the last 30 years in the U.S. NBC’s coverage this year has been superb. Only one thing missing- a nightly NBCSN primetime soccer highlight show on weekdays.

  4. Is it fair to make that comparison with shows in different time slots?

    What live sporting events was NBCSN going up against at 10am? What live sporting events were those baseball games going up against in the afternoon? Wasn’t there NCAA Basketball Semi-finals that afternoon? Any sport going up against that is doomed in the ratings.

    It’s nice that NBCSN is doing well with the Premier League. That’s great! I’m a big fan! However, the comparison that you give here is rather meaningless.

      1. The Dodger game started at 4 and was on until about 7. The pregame for the basketball game on ESPN started around 4 and around 5 on TBS and the game tipped off around 6 on TBS, so there was some overlap.

  5. I think NBC is doing an great job. My only wish is that they had more Football to cover. Rebecca Lowe is an amazing host who is fantastic at her job. I don’t know what MLS is thinking by moving there rights away from NBCSN. Anybody know of any chance NBCSN would buy any more rights?

  6. FOX need to go to their expert baseball commentator, Gus Johnson. I heard he knows everything about the game.

  7. The sad fact is that it is cheaper and easier to follow your favorite EPL club than it is follow an MLB team. It also doesn’t help that Fox Soccer 2 Go is easier to navigate and use than MLBtv.

    Personally, I think that you can take the MLB games you watch on TV for granted because if you miss 1, you can still catch 2 of the 3 in that respective series. The long schedule and long games that baseball currently represents is losing support amongst young viewers.

    A valid question to ask is if this a trend that will continue after the World Cup year?

  8. I think a lot of it has to do with the lack of knowledge/familiarity with FS1. People just aren’t accustomed to searching for the channel yet. They’ve been around for a while now, though, and that has to be worrying for their execs.

    1. ..or people are just avoiding it. It’s a rip off of ESPN with their horrendous Crowd Goes Wild show. Even Georgie Thompson is not enough reason to watch that channel.

  9. I love both sports a great deal. No question soccer has a place at the table in this country. But baseball is hardly declining. Teams are getting record TV deals in their local markets. The league was one of the first to offer a format for viewing every league game live and on demand ( at a reasonable price. Many hard core baseball fans, including myself, watch the games this way. Last year MLB drew 74,026,895 at the gate (an average of 30K + per game). It was the fourth highest draw in MLB history. The other three highest years all happened this century. This blows away the “golden age” gate from half a century ago.

    In conclusion: Teams are generating record numbers in TV contracts, and drawing record numbers at the gate. This is not a league in demise.

    Lets all celebrate the rise of soccer without drawing inaccurate conclusion regarding baseball’s popularity.

    1. The average age of a baseball fan is 53 (and rising). The average age of a soccer fan is 37. From a business perspective, sports are all about money, and the sweet spot for advertisers is to target audiences between the ages of 18-34 who are male. As the baseball audience gets older, they become less attractive to advertisers, which means that TV networks will have a harder time trying to generate the money they need to be as profitable as they can be.

    2. The 2013 regular season ended, and with it Major League Baseball saw paid attendance of 74,026,895, or an average of 30,514 over 2,426 games. The season ended down 1.06 percent from 2012 when the league saw total of 74,859,268.

  10. Have no fear Baseball. Here’s how you get the fans back. Gus Johnson. He’ll liven things up. It’s working in soccer. Just ask the rocket scientists at Fox.

  11. FOX proper has been showing baseball on Saturday afternoon for about 15+ years and FS1 is still new with probably only the diehard sports fans knowing it exists.

    See what the viewing numbers are for a game at the end of the season. Heck I bet this weekend will be better being that FS1 has the Yankees vs Redsox with no other sports competing with them.

    I do a gree that the game needs to be spead up with a pitch clock and fewer games need to be played but the owners wont give up the revenue.

    1. That’s a prime example of an older viewing audience that doesnt keep up with tv schedules.

      As soon as FS1 was on air, I’m sure most soccer fans were counting the days until they showed their first CL game.

      1. Not really, us soccer fans are used to having to scoure to find the channel or feeds of the matches we want to watch. The average American sport fan is not no matter the age.

        1. We source to find the channels because we are a younger, more tech-savy generation, with a greater desire to watch the games.

  12. Baseball fans are aging, and the sport is struggling to gain new, younger, fans.

    Buster Olney wrote an article the other day about how they could make baseball more attractive to younger audiences. One of his suggestions was to shorten to 7 innings!! Can you imagine doing something like that to Baseball?

    Personally, I can’t stand to watch any regular season games. Its far too slow. Some batters are at the plate for like 10 minutes, adjusting gloves, stepping in and out of the box, the pitcher tries 50 times to pick off the runner at 1st….its ridiculous.

    I love the soccer coverage we are starting to get here in the states. NBC Sports is doing a great job.

    On any given night during the season, you can find 3 or more baseball games on regular cable at any given time. I’m looking forward to the days those games are replaced with soccer games, even if they are replays of something played earlier in the day or over the weekend.

  13. For me speed of play is not an issue. The thing that bothers me about any sport is tempo. Baseball’s tempo is reliable. The speed is slower, but the tempo is reliable. Basketball on the other hand infurtiates me because tempo is all over the place. It takes 20 minutes to play the last minute of the game. Can’t stand that. It’s a personal preference I know.

    Speaking of basketball, the NBA has the most meaningless regular season of any sport. I’m surprised more soccer fans on blogs like this aren’t directing their angst at soccer. At least Major League baseball has a meaningful regular season (albiet diluted since the introduction of Wild Cards).

  14. You don’t need gimics like Gus Jonson for ratings.. I’ve always said football will grow I the USA if you have a high quality product and it’s available to the mases it will grow.

    NBC for the most part has done that. Don’t fix what isn’t broken.


  15. A couple more comments:

    1. The 421k who watched Giants/Dodgers at 4:00 pm and the 380K who watched the 1 pm game…is there any way to determine how many unique viewers there were? If they are all unique viewers than the baseball numbers destroy the Premiership Game.
    2. There were 8 other MLB games going on during the 1-4 pm time slots, which is eating into your baseball numbers. Granted, the EPL had games on Live Extra alongside United/Newcastle, but the degree of cannibalism would be less considering who those other matchups were.

    Again, celebrate the rise of soccer, but don’t be ignorant about baseball’s popularity. The fall of baseball is a myth perpetuated by people who aren’t entertained by it

    1. Actually, a lot of people in baseball are worried about its decline. They are desperate to gain a new generation of fans.

      They talked about it at length the other night on ESPN Baseball tonight.

    2. You may well have a point regarding the viewers. Have to imagine there probably were a lot of unique viewers but only to the extent that it was a free game. So how many viewers did they pick up who didn’t have to go to a friends, or a bar, or steal a stream online. Unlike baseball, soccer fans unfortunately have to pay a premium to get their sport. So that needs to be taken into the equation.

      1. Sorry strike that I was thinking of the game that was shown on regular NBC recently. Thought it was this game.

    3. Good point. A couple more to pile one.

      Firstly, if your baseball team is local, I think you need to watch your local sports channel to catch the game as it would be blacked out on FS1. So that may influence the ratings a bit.

      Additionally, EPL games are (typically) once a week, so there is a definitive drive to watch the games every weekend. With the 162 game season in baseball, you could miss several dozen and still catch the majority of the games.

      1. The only time I know you are forced to watch your local feed for baseball is if ESPN is covering the game on Monday or Tuesday. If the game is on Fox on Saturday or ESPN on Sunday night you can’t watch it on the local sports network.

  16. Wow just saw the cricket match on ESPN2 pulled in 217k viewers… I never same them even promoting the game.


  17. I don’t want to knock Fox because my EPL interest got started with those guys and ESPN. On the other side of the coin I have been able to talk to more people about the EPL these days because of the increased interest and viewership. Baseballs decline? I will take it two steps further and say that I have heard from more than just a few that Football (soccer) is much more exciting than basketball and American football. Hmmm, really. Great strides and great job from NBC. Thank you for bringing
    my favorite sport to the limelight.

  18. This should not shock anyone nor should too much be read into it. MLB regular season games have never been a big draw on tv. People want to see their own club period and have little interest in other clubs and games until the races heat up in the summer. Everything said about the decline of baseball is true in the American publics opinion but it does not mean the World Game is that much ahead of baseball. We all know soccer to be growing but it still is not a big four sport. Hope it is someday.

    Now if a EPL broadcast beat a regular season NFL match or a NBA early round playoff match that would be news. Sad thing is NBC got it right with a day of soccer with EPL all morning followed by afternoon MLS match. However with NBC gaining Nascar rights MLS was being shown the exit. It’s really too bad for MLS NBC had created a soccer audience to hold the fans attention.

    1. IIRC (and Christopher could correct me on this), NBC bowed out of the MLS bidding after it was known Fox & ESPN made a joint bid for MLS/US National team rights – which negotiations are still continuing over

  19. Maybe is declining and I hate baseball. However fox sports 1 was blacked out for the local teams which would increase the viewing to probably about a million baseball also had too many games. I don’t understand why people need to make comparison of ratings of soccer which are good for soccer to other ratings in other sports. Baseball playoffs destroy epl ratings. People say hockey is less popular than soccer I beg to differ. Other than the World Cup soccer ratings are nowhere near Stanley cup playoff games or the winter classic. I’d like soccer to be more popular but I’m not gonna act like it’s getting anywhere near the level of hockey basketball football or baseball.

  20. Fox Sports 1 and 2 is not in the same league as ESPN and is considered by many to be yet another second rate cable channel. Their sports shows confirm that. So people will only turn to Fox Sports 1 or 2 if the game they are interested is not shown by another network. The causal fan would rather watch baseball on ESPN or their local TV station. Even TBS an TNT are considered better than Fox Sports.

    1. Turner is infinitely better than Fox in my opinion. Their presentation of the NBA and the NCAA basketball tournament is always great (outside of Shaq). Fox’s network coverage of the NFL and MLB is normally sound, but anything relegated on FS1 or 2 always seems subpar.

  21. Here is the Fox stations line-up for Saturday’s FA CUP Wembley semi-final (In my area)

    Fox – Paid Prog, Paid Prog, Bones Re-run
    FS1 – Baseball
    FS2 – Arsenal vs Wigan FA CUP


    1. I agree it looks ridiculous, but I’d bet it’s all down to contract guarantees. I don’t think Fox or any other network can willy nilly change things around just because they feel like it. MLB is not going to tolerate being bumped to FS2 when the contract says they will be on FS. Same for the stuff on FOX even if it is mind numbing.

      1. I agree about the baseball contracts. I just assumed it would be a good enough tv audience to show on FOX free to air. Arsenal vs. Last years Cup winner….seems like a no brainer when put up against paid programming & a bones re-run.

    2. OMG! I love Bones. I hope it’s the episode with the decomposed body and torturous exercise to identify the killer.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *