By Paul Kennedy
Just how important is the English Premier League to NBCSN? Since the launch of the EPL on Aug. 17, NBCSN has posted a 67 percent increase in average total day viewership -- more than double the increase of any other sports cable network over the same period.
MLB Network and NBA TV enjoyed the next highest increases in viewership growth for the Aug. 17-Sept. 22 period at 30 percent and 21 percent, respectively. (ESPN was up 10 percent; ESPN2 was down 1 percent.)
Sports Network Viewership:
(Aug. 17-Sept. 22)
AVG. NETWORK (-/-)
1,125,000 ESPN (+10%)
353,000 ESPN2 (-1%)
302,000 NFL Network (+11%)
136,000 Golf Channel (+3%)
121,000 Fox Sports 1 (+19%)
86,000 MLB Network(+30%)
77,000 NBCSN (+67%)
75,000 ESPNNews (+7%)
29,000 NBA TV (+21%)
17,000 Fox Sports 2 (-11%)
It should be noted that the late summer period -- the NHL offseason -- would otherwise be a very slow for NBCSN so that explains much of the audience growth. But as was the case with the EPL on ESPN and ESPN2, the league's greatest value to NBCSN is in providing programming with average viewerships in the 300,000-400,000 range in the early morning slots on weekends or midday slots during weekdays when otherwise the viewerships would be minimal.
NBCSN’s Premier League telecasts are averaging 391,000 viewers – a 70 percent jump over the average posted by ESPN, ESPN2 and Fox Soccer after five weeks last year (230,000).
NBCSN's coverage of the Manchester derby between Man City and Man United averaged 852,000 viewers Sunday to rank as the second most-watched Premier League match ever on U.S. cable. The Aug. 26 telecast of Man United-Chelsea rank marked NBCSN’s best weekday audience since the 2012 London Olympics.
EPL Viewers (2013-14):
AVG. MATCH (NETWORK, DATE)
917,000 Everton-Chelsea (NBC Sat., Sept. 14)
865,000 Crystal Palace-Sunderland (NBC Sat., Aug. 31)
852,000 Man. City-Man. United (NBCSN Sun., Sept. 22)
792,000 Swansea-Man. United (NBC Sat., Aug 17)
789,000 Aston Villa-Liverpool (NBC Sat., Aug. 24)
574,000 Arsenal-Tottenham (NBCSN Sun., Sept. 1)
570,000 Liverpool-Man. United (NBCSN Sun., Sept. 1)
536,000 Man. United-Chelsea (NBCSN Mon., Aug. 26)
459,000 Tottenham-Swansea (NBCSN Sun., Aug. 25)
450,000 Arsenal-Aston Villa (NBCSN Sat., Aug 17)
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