Sunday 06 October 2013
The growing popularity of the Barclays Premier League in the United States was demonstrated when NBC Sports Group posted record numbers for the first five weeks of its exclusive coverage of the competition.
The number of viewers who saw the first five weeks of Barclays Premier League action on NBC's English-language channels
NBC Sports has taken over the exclusive live rights for the Barclays Premier League for the next three seasons and is promising to show an unprecedented 380 games across a host of channels, its SportsLive website and the network's apps, as well as broadcasting more than 600 hours of Premier League original programming.
Its investment is starting to pay off with more than 9 million having tuned in to watch the 27 English-language telecasts of matches across five channels so far, almost double the 4.8m who watched the first five weeks of action last season.
The NBC Sports Networks shows are averaging 391,000 viewers, 70% up on the equivalent figure last season, while the recent Manchester derby on the channel peaked at more than 1m viewers and its average of 852,000 made it second most-watched Premier League match ever on cable in the US.
Another demonstration of the increasing interest in football Stateside was evident in a tournament among fans in New York where this year’s edition was the largest ever.
Since it started in 2007, the NYC Official Supporters Club has grown from two teams to 20 with more than 250 players participating. For the second year running the team of Everton supporters won the trophy. The Liverpool fans team reached the semi-finals while the Cardiff City fans beat those from Barcelona. The tournament helped to raise more than US$10,000 to provide scholarships for inner-city kids in New York City. to play football.
"The tournament is a great reflection of the deep, diverse and passionate soccer culture in NYC,” the organiser, Paul Jeffries, said. “It's also a great testament to the generous spirit of the fans to support opportunities for kids to play the game."
For more on the tournament, click here