It’s now a fairly well-known fact that more people are watching soccer in the states than hockey, and some soccer matches even drew more viewers than the NBA Finals!
Last week Richard Sandomir wrote in the New York Times about the English Premiere League’s upcoming round of television negotiations. NBC acquired the exclusive rights to broadcast EPL matches for three years beginning in 2013-14 for $250 million, which lead to unexpectedly high viewership ratings.
There are a few different reasons why soccer, particularly EPL is starting to take off, and timing is a definite factor.
EPL games are broadcasted on Saturday and Sunday mornings, along with occasional midweek afternoon games. They face little competition in terms of live sports viewership with others leagues like NCAA, NFL and NHL, only airing mid-afternoon and early evenings.
Another big factor contributing to increased viewership is the nature of soccer itself.
There are no time outs or commercial breaks in soccer. The game is played continuously for 90 minutes with the exception of halftime. So, people viewing a match don’t feel obligated to change the channel during advertisements because there aren’t any.
There is no-doubt that NBC has seen its success with Premiere League viewership.
The television network’s strategy to show all 380 games has increased the value of English football in the United States, and with T.V. networks struggling to stream more live broadcasts, the network bids to broadcast EPL beginning in 2016-17 are going to be extremely competitive.