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ESPN2 Breaks Record for Most Viewed EPL Game In US History

ESPN2’s live broadcast of Arsenal against Chelsea on Monday, December 27 was the most watched Premier League game in U.S. history. The match, which was broadcast from 3-5pm ET, garnered a 0.5 rating and was viewed by an estimated viewing audience of 610,000.

In comparison, the 2010 MLS Cup Final between Colorado Rapids and FC Dallas earned a 0.4 rating and a viewing audience of 748,000, which was down 44% from the 2009 final. The 2010 final was televised on ESPN on a Sunday night from 8:30-11:45pm ET.

The previous record audience for a Premier League game on U.S. television was set earlier in December when 570,000 people watched the game between Manchester United and Arsenal, also on ESPN2. Prior to that, the record was an audience of 540,000 who viewed Manchester United against Chelsea on ESPN2 in April, 2010. As you can see, the popularity of the English Premier League on U.S. television continues to grow by leaps and bounds, and it’s no wonder that a Premier League team such as Manchester United aims to capitalize on the growing interest when it tours the United States this summer to play teams such as Barcelona as well as possible friendlies in Chicago at Wrigley Field and Portland at its refurbished Timbers stadium.

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  1. SoccerLimey

    January 5, 2011 at 8:45 pm

    Soccer at Wrigley Field…..Huh ? Where did you get that from !

    • The Gaffer

      January 5, 2011 at 8:59 pm

      From a site named EPL Talk 😉 Check it out at

      The Gaffer

      • SoccerLimey

        January 5, 2011 at 9:12 pm

        Wow. I’m shocked at the Wrigley Field thing. They couldn’t even fit a college football size field inside the stadium without changing the rules of the game this year. Because of safety issues, all the play had to go in one direction.

        I would very much doubt this source

        • The Gaffer

          January 5, 2011 at 9:14 pm

          I have it on good authority from a person very close to Manchester United that they have discussed Wrigley Field as a potential venue for their 2011 summer tour.

          As for Wrigley Field, check out this video of footage featuring Chicago Sting against the New York Cosmos at our sister site MLS Talk at

          The Gaffer

          • SoccerLimey

            January 6, 2011 at 1:00 am

            Interesting video that highlights some concerns with this whole issue. Firstly, do we really think any European professional team in pre-season would play on a field where large portions are dirt rather than grass ? Looks like that’s the only way to do it without changing field dimensions.

            Also, it appears (and I might be wrong on this) that the proportions of field markings on the far side are out of wack. Like I said, it might be me.

            Finally, I doubt the Cubs would want a mid-summer game on their hallowed turf that runs the risk of tearing up the sod with after one of those heavy summer showers.

            Soldier Field makes much more sense. Bigger, and we don’t have to mess with field dimensions, and no risk to the playing surface at the Friendly Confines.

            Sounds like someone hasn’t thought this one through too much….

  2. soccerreform

    January 5, 2011 at 5:07 pm

    So, that’s like 50% more viewers than MLS Cup. Perhaps the Don Garber solvency/survival plan is helping EPL conquer America. That’s really fantastic for the US club game.

    • SDM

      January 5, 2011 at 7:44 pm

      So 610K is 50% MORE than 748K? Gotta love those math skills of yours. Moron.

  3. Football Souvenirs

    January 5, 2011 at 3:27 pm

    Great that the large audience was treated to such a great game too. I hope they come back for more

  4. MJK

    January 5, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    Question for the Gaffer or others-
    Why aren’t all the EPL games archived at the website, such as the Arsenal v Chelsea match? Is it a licensing issue? Or are they there and I’m missing them. Thanks for info.

  5. Adam

    January 5, 2011 at 11:20 am

    To tell the truth, it would not surprise me to see this record broken a few more times this season. It seems that football as a sport to watch is starting to resonate with Americans. In the past half decade or so, I have never been able to talk about EPL football matches as much as I have in a neutral setting as I have this season. Also I see games on at the bar more and more often which can only mean increased viewership. I agree with Earl that ESPN is really spring boarding the sport- and long may it continue.

  6. wjmooner

    January 5, 2011 at 10:17 am

    Great news. One reason for the high rating though may be that most of the East Coast was stuck at home that day after the huge snowstorm. That’s the only reason I was able to watch.

    • Earl Reed

      January 5, 2011 at 10:36 am

      Hey, I’ll take it. The one thing you can say for the ESPN broadcast is that it’s lively and does the sport justice. I think the ESPN broadcasts could really be a springboard for the sport. FSC relies heavily on the TWI broadcast, which seems geared towards viewers in other countries. The ambient noise captured by ESPN, as has been pointed out in a number of comments here, really appeals to the American fan who craves the ups and downs of sports like the NFL, NBA, and MLB.

      The only thing that’s unfortunate is that, as the east coast is bracing for another clipper heading into Saturday morning, the EPL is on break and there will be no game on ESPN2. So it turns out they lucked out on 12/27, but caught a bad break this coming weekend.

  7. tedhill

    January 5, 2011 at 10:01 am

    Good numbers, and that doesn’t even count the hundreds of thousands of people watching on at work/school.

  8. footy maniac

    January 5, 2011 at 8:43 am

    great news, hope this makes more channels look at soccer totally differently. also gaffer do you know if the spanish channels espn deportes and fox deportes will ever show up in HD for Directv? much appreciated.

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