By Paul Kennedy
Saturday’s NBC telecast of Swansea City-Manchester United -- its first ever broadcast of the English Premier League -- drew a 0.8 overnight rating to rank fourth out of eight live network soccer broadcasts on English-language television in 2013.
NBC Sports Group aired three opening-day games live -- Swansea City-Manchester United on NBC and Liverpool-Stoke City and Arsenal-Aston Villa on NBCSN -- and they averaged a 0.5 overnight rating – up 67 percent from last season’s opening Saturday three-game average (0.3 average for one match on ESPN and two on Fox Soccer).
The rating points represent the percentage of all households with televisions tuned in, according to Nielsen's survey of the top 56 U.S. metered markets.
Soccer ratings tend to fall as the final ratings account for all markets, taking in smaller, more rural markets where soccer is less popular.
2013 Network Overnight Ratings:
1.7 Fox: USA-Panama(Gold Cup final)
1.2Fox:USA-El Salvador (Gold Cup quarterfinals)
1.0Fox:Bayern-Munich-Dortmund (UEFA Champions League final)
0.8NBC:Swansea City-Man. United (English Premier League)
0.7 NBC: Philadelphia Union-New York Red Bulls (MLS)
0.7 Fox: USA-Cuba (Gold Cup first round)
0.6 Fox: Real Madrid-Everton (Guinness Int'l Champions Cup)
0.5Fox:Wigan-Man. City (English FA Cup final)
Note: English-language television only.
Given the heavy promotion of NBC's EPL launch, one might imagine a higher rating for the game, but summer ratings for all network programming are notoriously low and an opening game involving Swansea City wasn't exactly going to draw in fans.
Fox, which held the EPL rights until this season, experimented with live coverage of two matches in early 2012. Manchester United's 3-3 tie with Chelsea drew a 1.0 overnight rating on Fox on Super Bowl, up from the 0.9 overnight for Manchester United's 2-1 win over Arsenal two weeks earlier.
Top 10 Swansea-Man. United Ratings:
1.2 Los Angeles
FOX SOCCER DAILY. The second new daily soccer show, Fox Soccer Daily, debuts Monday at 4 p.m. ET on the new Fox Sports 1, which launched Saturday.
The 30-minute show, which will air from Fox Sports 1's Los Angeles studios, will be hosted by Julie Stewart-Binks. Joining Stewart-Binks at the Fox Network Center will be veteran Fox soccer analysts Eric Wynalda, Warren Barton and Brian McBride.
The show will air Monday-Friday on Fox Sports 1 except when preempted by UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League pre-game and post-game shows.
ESPN2's ESPN FC debuted Aug. 11. It airs Monday-Friday 5:30-6 p.m. ET and Sunday 10-11 p.m. ET. (Drag racing pushed Sunday night's show back to a midnight start.)
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