Paul Kennedy of Soccer America reports on the outstanding TV ratings for the Manchester derby, and how the growing popularity of soccer in the United States can be measured by it's growing TV audience.
Monday’s Manchester derby between Manchester City over Manchester United for the English Premier League lead on ESPN set an EPL record for the largest viewing audience ever on U.S. cable television. The game was seen by an average of 1.033 million viewers, based on a 0.8 rating, according to Nielsen.
The five most-viewed Premiership matches on U.S. cable TV:
DATE NETWORK: MATCH AUDIENCE
April 30, 2012, ESPN: Man. City vs. Man. United, 1,033,000
Dec. 27, 2010, ESPN2: Chelsea vs. Arsenal, 610,000
Feb. 11, 2012, ESPN2: Liverpool vs. Manchester United, 588,000
Feb. 6, 2011, Fox Soccer: Liverpool vs. Chelsea, 579,000
Dec. 13, 2010, ESPN2: Arsenal vs. Manchester United, 570,000
Additionally, the City-United match was the most-viewed EPL telecast on ESPN Deportes, earning a 4.0 Hispanic coverage rating, which represents 273,000 Hispanic viewers, P2+.
On ESPN3 and WatchESPN, an average minute audience of nearly 87,200 people watched the derby.
MORE TV NUMBERS. The four semifinal games in the UEFA Champions League averaged 1.033 million viewers each, according to Nielsen. That's an increase of 29 percent from the 2011 audiences.
Combined, FX and Fox Deportes drew 1.236 million total viewers, making the Real Madrid-Bayern Munich second leg the most-watched UEFA Champions League non-final match in history.
The return leg between Barcelona and Chelsea recorded 438,000 total viewers on Fox Soccer and 545,000 on Fox Deportes for 983,000 total viewers.
Fox Sports is broadcasting the Bayern Munich-Chelsea final live at 2 p.m. ET on May 19.