It’s onward and upward for the English Premier League on American television.  The league has seen a boon as its popularity continues to increase in Year 2 of their rights deal with the peacock.

NBC announced that their recent telecast of Manchester United vs Arsenal from November 22nd set a new viewership record for a live Premier League match, scoring 1.4 million viewers:

NBC’s broadcast of Manchester United’s 2-1 victory over Arsenal on Saturday, November 22, averaged 1.4 million viewers to rank as the most-watched live Premier League match in U.S. history. The match between the top-tier clubs featured a decisive 85th-minute goal from Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney.

Since kicking off its Premier League coverage in August 2013, NBC Sports Group has aired seven of the 10 most-watched live PL telecasts ever in the U.S.

In addition, the match ranks as the fifth-most streamed Premier League match in history, with 63,000 uniques on NBC Sports Live Extra.

Both Man United and Arsenal have had up and down seasons, but they have massive fanbases in America and around the world.  Whenever two of the biggest teams in England come together, NBC’s ratings will be much higher than normal.  Any combination of United, Arsenal, Manchester City, Liverpool, and Chelsea will produce good numbers.  The real encouraging thing though for NBC and the EPL is that these numbers continue to rise and records continue to be set.

It does produce a bit of an interesting dilemma though – the EPL’s deal with NBC is currently in Year 2 of 3 – it ends in 2016.  The more successful the coverage is, the more expensive it will be to keep.  And with most all of the major rights fees in sports locked up into the next decade, that EPL contract becomes more and more valuable considering how ESPN, NBC, and Fox are all highly interested in soccer.  NBC simply can’t afford to lose the EPL given their success in quality and quantity as well as critical acclaim and ratings success.

About Matt Yoder

Award winning sportswriter at The Comeback and Awful Announcing. The biggest cat in the whole wide world.

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