February was a great month for NBC Sports. Aside from the obvious boost in ratings for the Winter Olympics, the network also boasted some truly impressive numbers for its coverage of the Premier League. Soccer coverage during the month of February was the most-watched in U.S. history.
Just how big were ratings? Pretty big, relatively speaking. A total of 17 Premier League games were shown across NBC, NBCSN and the USA Network and they brought in an average of 609,000 viewers per match. That's the second consecutive month NBC had a record EPL audience after averaging 492,000 viewers in January. Those numbers may sound insignificant, but they represent a 76% jump from the Premier League's previous best month back in September of 2011 which brought in an average of 346,000 viewers for 12 games shown on Fox, Fox Soccer and ESPN2.
The sudden spike in ratings can be attributed to one key factor: Olympic coverage.
NBCUniversal used lead-ins and promotion of the Premier League during Olympic events to bring a record number of eyes to the Premier League in the United States.
These numbers are noteworthy, but just about any program or event would have seen a big influx in viewers considering all of the lead-ins and promoting NBCUniversal gave during the Olympics. Still though, the Premier League is showing real growth in its first year on NBC and these numbers should give soccer fans real encouragement.