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Premier League on USA Network TV ratings start well

We love watching the Premier League games on NBC Sports. That’s no secret. So, we were inquisitive when NBC Sports PR sent out a press release this week. It screams how USA Network is a success in its opening weekend of Premier League games. We decided to take a closer look to see what the numbers tell us.

The headline is that the Premier League on USA had a 27% increase. That’s compared to the New Year’s Day weekend on NBCSN last year.

In fact, the five Saturday-Sunday matches on USA Network averaged a Total Audience Delivery of 570,000 viewers. During the comparable weekend last year, NBCSN averaged 449,000 over four games.

Which four games were they in 2021?

• Spurs vs. Leeds
• Crystal Palace vs. Sheffield United
• Newcastle vs. Leicester
• Chelsea vs. Manchester City

This 2022 year was certainly different. First, the comparable games featured heavyweights Chelsea-Liverpool and Manchester City-Arsenal. Second, the other games were Watford-Spurs, Crystal Palace-West Ham and Everton-Brighton.

So, no doubt, the 2022 fixtures were far more attractive and featured bigger fanbases. Crystal Palace against Sheffield United, in particular, would not have been a ratings extravaganza.

For the 2022 games, USA Network delivered the highest average cable viewership for a “Festive Fixtures” weekend since Boxing Day in 2015 (12/26/15).

Sunday’s Chelsea-Liverpool on USA Network averaged a TAD of 1.04 million viewers to rank as third-most watched Premier League match ever on cable. Saturday’s Manchester City-Arsenal game averaged a TAD of 476,000 viewers. That match marking the most-watched game to kick off before 8 a.m. ET since Oct. 20, 2018 (Chelsea-Manchester United).

In conclusion, the USA Network numbers show promise but we would like to see continued improvement before calling it a ratings success. After all, USA Network is in far more homes than NBCSN (90 million compared to 79 million).

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  1. Hans

    January 8, 2022 at 1:41 am

    Same for me when my subscription expires in the fall that’s it unless they throw in for free a subscription to the NY Times.

  2. Michael F

    January 7, 2022 at 12:24 pm

    Speaking of NY Times, they just purchased the Athletic, which has universally received many negative comment posts from Athletic subscribers worried how it will eventually change their Sports site subscription into an ad filled corporate mess like so many other independent companies that get bought out by corporate giants. As a subscriber to the Athletic… I have to admit, i was not pleased to see that news. It never usually ends up being a good thing in these scenarios.

  3. Hans

    January 7, 2022 at 10:07 am

    Tech Quote of the year 2022 from NY Times:
    Cable TV Is the New Landline
    Old habits die hard. But technology can change entrenched ways of doing things slowly and then very quickly.
    “As recently as a decade ago, 85 percent of U.S. households — paid for packages of TV channels from cable or satellite companies. That started to decline haltingly at first and then far more quickly in the past few years. Now, the share of American homes that pay for conventional TV service is closing in on 50 percent, according to recent assessments from the investment analyst Craig Moffett and S&P Global Market Intelligence’s Kagan research group.”

  4. norman s salomons

    January 6, 2022 at 12:58 pm

    Where is “Sky sports news”?

    • Christopher Harris

      January 6, 2022 at 1:02 pm

      We discuss it in more detail on the podcast, but it’s no longer available in the United States.

  5. locofooty

    January 6, 2022 at 9:43 am

    @greg, lol! Telemundo/Universo blocked from showing those upcoming matches. Seems like the practice will continue. Welp, ESPN LatAm it is for me. VPN is getting that subscriber money, not Peacock.

  6. Bernie

    January 6, 2022 at 9:29 am

    Christopher, like you I have been quite pleased with most aspects of the NBC coverage of the EPL here in the US. I have however observed that since the matches are now being shown on the USA Networks channel there is a deterioration in the quality of the live programming of EPL games on this channel.
    I have a 2 year old 4K Sony XBR TV with Verizon FIOS as my provider which provides absolutely outstanding picture and sound feed on all channels and Apps with the exception of this particular coverage.
    Intermittent picture and sound loss occur when watching the games and whilst my TV is excellent in upscaling I am not sure the feed is in TRUE 1080P.
    Can you bring this experience to the attention of your contacts within NBC for their comments?

  7. Nosferatu

    January 6, 2022 at 2:34 am

    The most promising info to me is that the Arsenal-City game was the highest-rated pre-8 a.m. ET start since 2018. We’re not just talking any early start here, either–this was a New Year’s Day 7:30 kickoff, so pretty decent stuff.

  8. MIB Fan

    January 5, 2022 at 9:08 pm

    The comparisons should be against other matches shown on USA this season. It basically took on the bigger matchups while the lesser games went to NBCSN.

  9. Ron

    January 5, 2022 at 8:48 pm

    I anticipate more games gravitating from USA to Peacock to increase the NBC revenue stream. Too bad!

  10. Rick

    January 5, 2022 at 7:00 pm

    Peacock should’ve replayed Liverpool vs Chelsea right after game ended instead of waiting 24 hours to replay.
    Put more games on USA and less on Peacock if want ratings to continue to get better.

  11. greg

    January 5, 2022 at 4:27 pm

    Good thing they’re building on that momentum by doing the big matches on Peacock in the next game week. If USA’s schedule for Sunday 1/16 is anything like 1/9, they’ll be showing Law & Order reruns.

  12. Rich

    January 5, 2022 at 3:45 pm

    Oh, 90 vs 79 million is much less of a distribution disparity than I thought. USA is probably able to promote to a wider audience. Also, as you mentioned, the games involved some heavyweights.

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