[TELEVISION WATCH] Monday's Manchester United-Arsenal game was watched by 570,000 viewers on ESPN2, making it the most-watched English Premier League telecast on U.S. cable television. It underscored ESPN's commitment to English soccer. ESPN2 is averaging 324,000 viewers for its 2010-11 EPL coverage mostly on early Saturday morning and Monday midday, 30 percent more than it drew for its 2010 MLS regular-season coverage.
The Man. United-Arsenal telecast out-delivered the previous high -- 526,000 viewers -- for Man. United-Chelsea on April 3, 2010.
The previous high for the current season was 428,000 viewers for the Sept. 25 game between Manchester City and Chelsea.
Through the first 21 matches of the 2010-11 season, ESPN2 is averaging a 0.3 household rating and 324,000 viewers, increases of 50 percent in ratings and 25 percent in viewers vs. the first 20 matches in the 2009-10 season.
According to a report in Sports Business Journal, ESPN2 averaged 249,000 viewers for its 25 MLS game telecasts in 2010, down 12.3 percent from its 2009 average.
ESPN acquired some U.S. cable rights to the EPL last season. The bulk of the EPL U.S. coverage is on Fox Soccer Channel.