Premier League title race helps Sky Sports ratings climb 12%

Premier League title race helps Sky Sports ratings climb 12%
English soccer’s Premier League title race saw Sky Sports’ UK audience grow 12 per cent during the 2018/19 season.

The tussle between Manchester City and Liverpool for top spot also helped the pay-TV broadcaster rope in 16 audiences in excess of two million viewers, which was more than the previous two seasons combined.

In addition, Sky secured its highest average live audiences for four years and recorded its best viewing figures for a single match in seven seasons.

Meanwhile BT Sport, the other domestic rights holder for English soccer’s top flight, enjoyed its best ever ratings for a Premier League season, including its largest live audience when 1.7 million viewers tuned in to watch Liverpool’s 5-1 win over Arsenal.

In total, the Premier League says it was watched by around 70 per cent of the UK population during the 2018/19 campaign, either through live games on Sky and BT, or through the BBC’s Match of the Day highlights programme.

Commenting on the viewing figures, Richard Masters, the Premier League’s interim Chief Executive, said: "Undoubtedly the drama being played on the pitch has helped increase our UK live audiences across Sky Sports and BT Sport and we also believe the feel-good factor around English football following last summer’s FIFa World Cup has played its part.”

News that the Premier League’s UK ratings were up came as the organisation revealed that it had delivered record global viewing numbers during the 2018/19 campaign.

A portion of that growth was driven by the US and China, two key markets for the Premier League, where viewing figures were up two per cent and six per cent, respectively.

This season each Premier League club scored just over UK£43 million (US$54.5 million) from international TV rights under the league's revenue-sharing model. However, that will change from the 2019/20 campaign when any increase in overseas broadcast income will be allocated based on a team's final position in the table.

The increase in global viewership is reflected in the rise in value of the Premier League’s international broadcast rights for the upcoming 2019 to 22 cycle, which Masters revealed earlier this week have been sold for a combined UK£4.2 billion (US$5.3 billion).

In total, the value of the Premier League’s broadcast rights for the next three seasons has climbed eight per cent to UK£9.2 billion (US$11.7 billion), with internet streaming giant Amazon set to join Sky and BT with domestic coverage of games from the 2019/20 campaign.

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