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BT Sport's First Live Premier League Game Has Strong Showing, But Still No Match For Sky
Published August 20, 2013
VIRGIN BOOST: In London, Daniel Thomas reported almost half of the households that watched BT’s Premier League debut "used the rival cable TV platform owned by Virgin Media." They "did so under a wholesale agreement struck late last week between BT and Virgin Media." The latest figures also mean that only about one in four of the potential audience of 1 million homes "either paid for BT broadband or BT Sport to watch the former national monopoly’s first game." In terms of total audience, BT attracted 629,000 viewers, of which 43% were Virgin customers. Analysts said that the numbers "were respectable given the newness of BT’s platform and the fact that only slightly more viewers watched an equivalent game shown by Sky last season" (FINANCIAL TIMES, 8/19).
COMING TO AMERICA: NBC earned a 0.8 overnight for its debut Premier League match on Saturday afternoon, which featured ManU-Swansea City. Washington, D.C. topped all U.S. markets with a 2.2 local rating. NBCSN on Saturday aired two games (Liverpool-Stoke City and Arsenal-Aston Villa) and the three-game average for NBC Sports Group was a 0.5 overnight. ManU-Swansea City also marked the best overnight in U.S. history for an EPL opening weekend match (Austin Karp, The Daily). In D.C., Steven Goff wrote "one thing is certain," and that is the EPL, "regarded as one of the most popular global sports brands, has never had an American stage like this before." NBC is "promoting Premier League coverage as if it's the NFL." Among NBC's challenges is "introducing the league to casual viewers without insulting sophisticated fans" (WASHINGTON POST, 8/17). In Philadelphia, Jonathan Tannenwald spent Saturday morning at NBC Sports' HQs to watch the production and wrote, "I came away quite impressed, as so many television viewers did." There are "certain sporting events you can broadcast with a half-measure, but NBC was committed to not doing so for this." (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 8/18).