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NBC Breaks Its Record After 1.2 Million Watch Swansea vs Cardiff

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.

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  1. Re

    February 15, 2014 at 12:15 pm

    Nice! I was worried that since it was a game between lesser known teams, the viewership would be a lot less. Granted, there was the Olympic games before and after. But that speaks of how smart NBC has managed its coverage of the BPL. It uses its own sporting events coverage to advertise other sporting events or to jam them together. Right now my favorite Soccer channels are BeIn Sports, NBC, Fox, ESPN and Goal TV. Does anyone know why CBS does not broadcast or attempt to broadcast any Soccer ever?

  2. Dave

    February 14, 2014 at 3:53 pm

    The first meeting of the season between Swansea and Cardiff was watched by less than 300K viewers. Granted, it was shown on NBCSN not NBC but that hardly makes any difference. The record viewership for a BPL match on over-the-air NBC this season was 991K viewers when Arsenal beat Liverpool, two of the most popular clubs in this country. Are you telling me that the sacking of Laudrup and the fact that it’s a derby made it more compelling than a match-up between two title contenders and helped attract one million additional viewers this time around? No, it was merely an aberration caused by the Olympics coverage on NBC. A similar example: the MLS game which immediately followed the Euro 2012 quarterfinal between England and Italy was watched by 888K viewers on ESPN. I rest my case.

  3. Frill Artist

    February 14, 2014 at 4:51 am

    The Winter Olympics bumped up the ratings…

    • Morocco Mole

      February 14, 2014 at 11:49 am


      Too many TVs were tuned into NBC because of the Olympics.

      Enough viewers were too lazy to change the channel.

      • Morocco Mole

        February 14, 2014 at 11:51 am

        Only 5 EPL teams drive TV viewership:

        Man Utd
        Man City

        The Welsh clubs draw at most 200K US viewers each.

      • mahluf

        February 14, 2014 at 1:29 pm

        The Olympics came on after the match. Just FYI.

        • Dave

          February 14, 2014 at 11:14 pm

          You are utterly clueless. Just FYI.

        • Frill Artist

          February 15, 2014 at 12:59 am

          The Winter Olympics also came on before the match. Just FYI.

  4. Twm Owen

    February 13, 2014 at 8:07 pm

    “those viewers who watched the second half will have enjoyed seeing Swansea’s three goals against the Bluebirds.”

    What? I watched it in Cardiff and I didn’t enjoy seeing any of the goals going in. I was unaware there are 1.2 million Swansea fans (Jack B***ards – as we call them) in America. What evidence is there the American audience would have been supporting Swansea, I’d like to think they were commiserating with Cardiff fans.

    • Christopher Harris

      February 13, 2014 at 8:23 pm

      In a few months from now, Cardiff will be relegated and Swansea will be preparing for its fourth season in a row as the first Premier League team in Wales. Swansea have had plenty of time to grow an audience in the United States, and were here on a tour across the USA last summer. Cardiff will be remembered for Vincent Tan and being a laughing stock.

  5. Dave

    February 13, 2014 at 5:50 pm

    The South Wales derby between Swansea and Cardiff benefited from one factor: The Olympics. Let’s not over-analyze it. Casual American viewers have no idea who Michael Laudrup is or what a derby is. Heck, they can’t even find Wales on a map!

    • grandprix

      February 13, 2014 at 6:01 pm

      Dave. mr Laudrup was not even our manager for the game….he has has gone!!

      • Dave

        February 13, 2014 at 10:10 pm

        I was referring to the article which said “The sacking of Michael Laudrup earlier in the week made this a more fascinating than usual match to watch.”

    • R.O

      February 13, 2014 at 6:47 pm

      Wales? Heck 20 years ago High School and college students couldn’t even find their home towns on a map. In the 1980’s when the American population was asked during the Iran-Contra scandal, American thought Iran was near or next to Nicaragua.

      Wales…. only find those in the ocean (I’m trying to be funny).

    • AndyEv

      February 14, 2014 at 7:31 am

      Trouble is most Americans refer to and know the United Kingdom as ‘England’. Shame really as Wales has important roots in USA –

    • Ryan M.

      February 14, 2014 at 10:03 am

      No sure why you’re getting so many thumbs down. You’re absolutely right.

  6. John Jubal

    February 13, 2014 at 3:43 pm

    I would expect those who in the US opted to watch the Swansea vs Cardiff game became fans of the game of soccer overnight. Soccer is one of those sports that has everything, from the passion that gets the blood flowing through the vain’s and the adrenalin at your team mounts an attack or even in defence who a hopeful out of success on what is being done. Even the banter before and after the game and when your team wins there a high that can’t be matched, especially in the big games and derby’s! The anticipation is almost electrifying as is the dread if things go wrong. It’s either yes, yes yes with with a successful outcome or, maybe we’ll do better next time. That latter start the whole process all over again as you begin to build up to the next game. It’s love and hate, dread and hope etc. all rolled into one for the sake of 90 minutes playing time. The compliments along with the criticism and the difference of opinion which makes soccer so exciting!

    A Swansea Jack!

  7. Matt

    February 13, 2014 at 3:02 pm

    Pretty much the Olympics bumped up the number more than usual, don’t think the other two reasons added any large number of viewers in all honesty. You could put MLS match on before/after Olympic coverage and it would get record ratings

    • Christopher Harris

      February 13, 2014 at 3:14 pm

      I disagree. Obviously I’m biased as a Swansea fan, but there was a lot of interest among soccer fans that I spoke to regarding this match.

      • eplnfl

        February 13, 2014 at 7:28 pm

        No doubt WST fans love a chance to see a local derby. Even some casual fans of the league would have their interest peaked by these two teams meeting in PL play.

        I have to come down on the side of the game being in the right time and right network for that big of an audience but hey that’s what its all about. NBC was smart in their programming knowing they had a large crowd already tuning in to live sports and trying to keep them hooked to network.

        Ultimately it’s good for the game, good for NBC, and increases soccer popularity here.

  8. Blatt Sepper

    February 13, 2014 at 2:58 pm

    It’s to see that the American people are at last starting to appreciate “proper” football.

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