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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