By Paul Kennedy
More than 3.4 million people watched the opening weekend of the NBC Sports Group's coverage of the English Premier League weekend featuring seven telecasts on three networks (one on NBC, four on NBCSN and two on Spanish-language mun2).
The five games on NBC and NBCSN were watched by a total of 3.2 million viewers -- up 52 percent from the 2.1 million total for the five games on ESPN and Fox Soccer last year.
Those five games were watched by an average of 443,000 viewers each game. (As a matter of comparison, the 12 Confederations Cup group matches averaged 485,000 on ESPN and ESPN2.)
The Swansea City-Manchester United drew an average of 792,000 average viewers, while the four weekend matches on NBCSN averaged 356,000 viewers.
Fans streamed more than 5.7 million minutes of Premier League action via NBC Sports Live Extra, NBC Sports Group’s live streaming product for desktops, mobile devices and tablets. This is the first time ever that all EPL games are available at no extra cost to fans via live stream.
-- Not surprisingly, NBCSN does not yet have the drawing power of ESPN or ESPN as Monday's Manchester City-Newcastle match averaged 189,000 viewers on ESPN2, down 46 percent from ESPN2’s first Monday last season (source told @Ourand_SBJ)
ESPN'S SKIPPER HOPEFUL.At Wednesday's ESPN Media Day, Jonathan Tannenwald reports that ESPN president John Skipper said "our clear preference would be to remain with" MLS and U.S. Soccer. Those rights are up at the end of 2014.
TWITTER BUZZ.Four EPL clubs -- Arsenal, Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool -- ranked 1-4 in last week's U.S. sports buzz on Twitter, far ahead of teams like the Dallas Cowboys, New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox, according to Gilt Edge Soccer.
#FANWALL CAMPAIGN.U.S. Soccer has launched a social media campaign with the hashtag #fanwall that offers fans the chance to send messages and pictures via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram that will be displayed on the walls of the tunnel outside the U.S men's national team locker room at Columbus Crew Stadium before the Sept. 10 USA-Mexico World Cup 2014 qualifier. The walls of the tunnel are an exclusive area in the stadium that only the team and staff access. The messages and photos will be the last thing the players and coaches see before entering the field before kickoff.
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