The English Premier League season has ended with another Chelsea championship, but it also led to the lowest viewership on the networks of NBC since the EPL moved over to the Peacock in 2013.

Sports Media Watch notes that the viewership per window on NBC/NBCSN/CNBC averaged 420,000 viewers in the just-completed season. That is down 18% from the previous season which saw 514,000 viewers per window. But it’s still up from when Fox/ESPN last had the games in 2012-13 and saw an average viewership of 220,000.

For the final Championship Sunday of the season when all 10 English Premier League fixtures were televised on the networks of NBCUniversal, the combined viewership was 1.8 million. But on MSNBC which aired Hull City vs. Tottenham Hotspur, the game was mostly pre-emptied for news coverage so the numbers were lower. Overall, it meant a 4% decline from last year’s Championship (1.9 million viewers).

Early in the season, NBC experienced lower numbers for the Premier League. Other sports experienced lower viewership from the NFL to NBA and NHL. Those lower numbers were mostly influenced by high interest in the Presidential election. However, sports remains the biggest hedge against cord cutting as it’s DVR-proof and still allows advertisers to get their messages across.

NBC hopes that the 2016-17 numbers were just an aberration and that the 2017-18 season will return to its viewership to 2015-16 levels.

[Sports Media Watch]

About Ken Fang

Ken has been covering the sports media in earnest at his own site, Fang's Bites since May 2007 and at Awful Announcing since March 2013.

He provides a unique perspective having been an award-winning radio news reporter in Providence and having worked in local television.

Fang celebrates the three Boston Red Sox World Championships in the 21st Century, but continues to be a long-suffering Cleveland Browns fan.

  • GameFederer

    Leicester story was great last year. It was gonna bring ratings because the cinderella aspect. I can’t really explain the lower numbers this year other than I don’t think it helped that Arsenal and Man U finished outside the Top 4. Both have two of the stronger followings in America and both underperformed this season. Regardless, EPL on NBC is absolutely the best pre/post/half show in American Sports TV right now. Inside the NBA used to have that distinction but Shaq has ruined the chemistry of the panel and it’s become more of who can make fun of another. The golden days when it was just EJ-Kenny-Charles and Charles was the clown were the best because Chuck still gives good insight. Shaq’s definitely not the most humble guy on that set compared to the other 3.

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  • MrBull

    It’s America and its European Soccer!…why should anyone be surprised at low ratings….MSL ratings are low….

    • GameFederer

      MLS ratings are low because the quality just isn’t there. But I think EPL ratings are pretty good considering they’re anywhere from 7-10am EST and 4am-7am PST.

    • Shawn Diiorio

      soccer is actually been growing in terms of popularity over the years, but continue to be ignorant. It’s how you become President of the United States.

      • GameFederer

        Shawn it’s because they don’t want to face the reality that a sport they think lowly of has a future. I mean rec soccer is already the #1 youth sport in our country now. Surpassed baseball, basketball, football.

      • MrBull

        Sounds like a liberal!…to bring the ‘false news’ bs and the President into this is classic ‘whiny liberal talk’….
        And there is ‘No False News’ on the reality that ratings and fan interest is on the low side when compared to other major sports…it has been that way with soccer for decades…the one exception was the New York Cosmos led by Pele and their international star roster…
        But, even interest faded away as did the NASL….
        One last thing, when you disagree you can do it without ‘insulting the person’…to call a person ignorant just because you do not like their view just shows what a ‘little 3 yr. child’ you are…and you should get your parents permission in the future before going on the internet to display your ‘childish stupidity’….

        • Shawn Diiorio

          Trump would be proud of what you said here tonight.

          • MrBull

            Typical Liberal response…it was you who insulted me because again – you didn’t like my viewpoint…now you are ‘spinning’ how ‘I insulted you’!….
            What baloney!….I simply called you out on your response…But, like a typical Liberal your view of life in general is bias – towards you and against everyone else…
            Here is a very simple and easy question for you: Who replied to whom’s post?
            The answer: You responded to my post….end of story and facts….

          • Shawn Diiorio

            This is a fine example of what the block user feature is good for. blocking people who have their head in the sand.

        • Salt_Lake_Guy

          The amount of soccer on TV has exploded over the last few years. TV companies are spending hundreds of millions of dollars for the rights to air soccer. NBC paid almost a billion dollars. Premier league TV ratings are almost equal to NHL tv ratings on NBCSN. The rights to show the next two World Cups in the US were purchased for more than a billion dollars. Fox and ESPN purchased the MLS TV rights for $720 million dollars. Soccer is growing by leaps and bounds. That is why companies are investing huge amounts of money in it.

          • MrBull

            Yeah, well let’s see what happens when those rights are up….the $$$$ will not be there….and with the exception of the World Cup, more disappointment for US team, interest and ratings that equal hockey is not something to jump for joy over….

          • Robert Smith

            TV rights fees to broadcast soccer have increased every cycle by large percentages. TNT just purchased the rights to broadcast the Champions League for almost double what Fox was paying. This is happening because interest in soccer is exploding. Ratings that went from nothing a few years ago to being on par with the NHL (one of the “big four”) that has been around for decades is an amazing accomplishment.

  • WestLAGuy

    Rebecca Lowe continues to be terrific as the main host, but I’ve noticed a change in the quality of game announcers and I DVR almost every game. I got hooked on the Premier League in the 2010/ 2011 thanks to Ian Darke on the weekly ESPN game. When NBC took over, it’s been the great Martin Tyler, John Champion, Peter Drury and Arlo White, who does a good job as NBC’s featured lead announcer, but he’s no Ian Darke.

    In 2016-2017, however, Martin Tyler has been heard less and less, instead we’re getting a lot of very average to below average play by play calls. It’s a real problem NBC better address. Unless he’s contractually obligated elsewhere, I’d start by hiring Ian Darke. I heard him twice this season, the last being two weeks ago and he’s still the best.

    • GameFederer

      Martin Tyler was never signed by NBC like Arlo was. Any games with Martin Tyler are from the official EPL broadcast feed with NBC’s graphics layered over that feed. This is why you never see Rebecca Lowe interact with Tyler “switching over to you from the studio” like Arlo White. Tyler is one of FOX’s lead announcers for Champions and FA Cup though I believe. I’d love for them to sign Darke but I’ve gotten used to Arlo White actually calling the big marquee games.Honestly, any British announcer sounds better than Dave O’Brien.

  • Respected Citizen

    This may be tied to the Manchesters’ misfortunes.

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  • Salt_Lake_Guy

    TV ratings for all sports including the NFL are declining. Part of the reason for the lower Premier League TV ratings this season is that many games were shifted to CNBC. More games were also televised this season which diluted the numbers. 420,000 viewers per game for games that start early in the morning is pretty darn good.