Group Created with Sketch.
Volume 26 No. 210
  • Created with Sketch.
  • Created with Sketch.
  • Created with Sketch.

NBC Sports Sees Lower EPL Audience After Scheduling Changes In Year 1 Of New Deal

NBC Sports had its lowest TV audience yet for EPL coverage this past season, as scheduling changes during the first year of a new deal did not work in the network’s favor. Games across NBC, NBCSN, USA and CNBC during the ’16-17 season averaged 420,000 viewers, down from a record 514,000 viewers last season and 479,000 for ’14-15. However, NBC Sports’ average was still well above the 220,000 viewers averaged by ESPN, ESPN2 and Fox Soccer during the ’12-13 season before NBC got the EPL media rights. Among the scheduling changes that hurt NBC this season was a shift for the Manchester Derby games featuring ManU and Man City. The two matches, usually among the better-viewed games, were split between NBC and NBCSN last season in more desirable time slots. A shift in match selection among U.K. TV partners led to those games being in less-desirable time slots this season in the U.S. Both games also ended up on NBCSN, leading to a 46% audience drop this season. There also was a shift in games from USA Network last season (39 games) to CNBC this season (43 games). USA’s audience last season for those matches was 50% higher than CNBC in ’16-17. USA only had three matches this season. However, while TV was down, NBC Sports Digital had its best EPL season yet among live minutes streamed. This season also saw eight of the 10 most-streamed EPL matches on record.