Premier League TV audience in U.S. doubles, still small by comparison

Manchester City's Vincent Kompany celebrates with the Premier League trophy after clinching the team's second title in three years with a 2-0 win Sunday over West Ham United.
(Rui Vieira / Associated Press)

More Americans tuned in to Premier League soccer this season on TV than ever before, but the most popular sport in the world still has a way to go before it receives promotion among U.S. sports.

NBC said in a release Tuesday that more than 4.9 million people watched the final day of the EPL season Sunday when all 10 matches were broadcast live across NBCUniversal-owned networks and Manchester City clinched its second title in three years with a 2-0 victory over West Ham United.

That’s up from the previous high of 1.8 million on the last day of the 2011-12 season when the league was broadcast by Fox and ESPN.

Quite a feat when you consider Sunday’s games all started at 7 a.m. PDT.


Though the EPL saw a 172% increase in viewership on the final day of the season, it still represents merely a fraction of the number of people who tuned in to this year’s Super Bowl between the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos (112.2 million) or Game 6 of the World Series between the Boston Red Sox and St. Louis Cardinals (19.2 million).

Overall, EPL viewership increased more than 50% this season to a total audience of 31.5 million -- up from 13.3 million -- as the league lead changed hands 25 times over the course of the 38-game season.

A more reasonable comparison might be the ratings of last year’s MLS Cup between Sporting Kansas City and Real Salt Lake. That series garnered the lowest ratings in Cup history, with an average audience of 505,000 over the course of the two-game series.

The EPL averaged nearly that many viewers each week (438,000). The next EPL season begins Aug. 16.

The Associated Press contributed to this report