Premier League Delivering Ratings For NBC Sports Group In First Of Three-Year Deal
NBC Sports Group "has attracted a surprising number of early-bird sports fans" to watch the EPL since it started airing live league games this season, according to Debbie Emery of the HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. NBC Sports Group President of Programming Jon Miller said, "The ratings continue to deliver and grow and we've uncovered a new daypart." The ManU-Liverpool match on March 16 "brought in 779,000 viewers, to rank as the most-watched early-morning Sunday game this season, and was then followed by Tottenham Hotspur vs. Arsenal (averaging 725,000 viewers), making it the most-watched double-header ever on cable." Since the start of the '13-14 season, NBCSN "has posted four of the five most-watched Premier League cable telecasts on record." The early matches are shown at 7:30am ET, and during the NFL season, EPL games "conveniently air before" NFL games begin. Rather than "trying to change the innate nature of English football -- like the more family friendly MLS league with cheerleaders and halftime shows -- they have kept it consistent with the U.K. broadcasting style." Miller: "The biggest mistake we could have made was trying to Americanize it." NBC "is expecting the momentum to heat up as the World Cup looms" in June with so many int'l players in the EPL (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, 3/26).