NBC Telecast of Swansea City-Manchester United Posts Highest Overnight Rating in U.S. History for Premier League Opener

Categories: Network TV Press Releases

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August 18th, 2013

Manchester United

via press release:

NBC Telecast of Swansea City-Manchester United Posts Highest Overnight Rating in U.S. History for Premier League Opener

Rebecca Lowe on opening Saturday: “The Premier League kicked off and it was quite some style.”

Robbie Mustoe on Chelsea Manager José Mourinho selecting his lineup: “He’s got to pick the right amount of artists and soldiers.”

Kyle Martino on Manchester United Forward Wayne Rooney: “Although you don’t see a lot of smiling from him, he contributes.”

STAMFORD, Conn. – August 18, 2013 – NBC Sports Group kicked off its exclusive coverage of the Premier League on Saturday with three live matches -- Liverpool-Stoke City and Arsenal-Aston Villa on NBCSN followed by Swansea City-Manchester United on NBC. Live match coverage continued today on NBCSN with Crystal Palace-Tottenham and Chelsea-Hull City.

Saturday’s NBC telecast of Swansea City-Manchester United drew the highest overnight rating (.8) in U.S. history for a Premier League opening weekend match.

Additional notes on Saturday’s coverage:

  • NBC Sports Group’s three live opening-day Premier League telecasts averaged a .5 overnight rating – up 67% from last season’s opening Saturday three-game average (.3 average for one match on ESPN and two on Fox Soccer)
  • Washington, D.C. topped all U.S. markets for local ratings of NBC’s Swansea City-Manchester United telecast. Following is the top ten:

Washington, D.C. (2.2)
Tulsa (1.9)
Austin (1.8)
Seattle (1.4)
Buffalo (1.4)
Los Angeles (1.2)
Philadelphia (1.0)
Cincinnati (1.0)
Orlando (1.0)
Hartford/New Haven (0.9)

  • Fans streamed more than four million minutes of Premier League action via NBC Sports Live Extra, NBC Sports Group’s live streaming product for desktops, mobile devices and tablets. This is the first time ever that all Premier League games are available at no extra cost (to fans with NBC Sports Network) via live stream.
  • This the first time that all Premier League games are available on television on the networks of NBCUniversal and the Premier League Extra Time bonus television package. Extra Time is available at no extra cost to fans who receive NBC Sports Network through their cable/satellite/telco providers.

Rebecca Lowe hosted today’s Premier League Live alongside former U.S. National Team midfielder Kyle Martino, and former English footballer Robbie Mustoe. Following are highlights from this morning’s telecast:

Premier League Live, 8-8:30 a.m. ET

On Opening Day:

Rebecca Lowe: “It was yesterday that the Premier League season kicked off and it was quite some style. An opening day packed with storylines and great action.”

Kyle Martino on Manchester United: “Opening day you tend to see a lot of focus on the reigning champions and on Manchester United, they were both of those. Combining with the fact that after 26 years, [new Manchester United manager David] Moyes at the helm, everyone was looking at this game and a lot of people were predicting an upset. Manchester United come off, they have a community shield, he gets his first win, Wayne Rooney comes off the bench and although you don’t see a lot of smiling from him, he contributes, Danny Welbeck already has double the number of goals he had last year, so a terrific start for David Moyes.

Robbie Mustoe on Arsenal: “The scenes around the Emirates Stadium, the worried scenes, the upsetting nature of this performance. I always think the first game of the season is quite a strong one and Arsenal last year lost big games, embarrassing defeats but they bounced back and I’m sure Arsenal will bounce back. But the first game of the season will stay in their memory a little bit and that might be tough to pull the squad around, which they have to very quickly because they’ve got a Champions League qualifier to get into the groups stages for real. Big test for [Arsenal manager] Arsene Wenger again.”

Martino on Tottenham: “They can’t underestimate this [Palace] team.”

Martino on Crystal Palace manager Ian Holloway: “He’s a quote machine… He’s classic.”

On Chelsea manager José Mourinho:

Mustoe: “We might expect an emotional return. I think it means a lot to the club and the bond he’s got with the fans there and all the officials is very strong. His character, his personality is so interesting and his preparation, attention to detail, the way that he brings the club together, it is pretty special. All of that said, he’s a winner, and that’s the most important part, he wins. Wherever he’s been, he’s won stuff, so expect dramatic interviews, expect at times to wind up the other managers, that’s going to happen, guaranteed at some point. It’s going to be a fun ride.”

Martino on why he thinks Chelsea with Mourinho are the favorites: “He’s the most revered manager in the league with, arguably, the best team in the league, even though he didn’t bring in the type of players that Manchester City with the $100 million they did spend.”

Premier League Live Halftime: Crystal Palace-Tottenham

Mustoe on Mourinho choosing today’s squad: “He’s got some issues to sort out and different sorts of midfielders than what he had a few years ago. These are a lot more creative, maybe not quite so hard-working. He’s got to find the right balance. I always think that artists and soldiers make the right team. He’s got to pick the right amount of artists and soldiers.”

NBC Sports Group’s exclusive Premier League coverage continues tomorrow at 2:30 p.m ET on NBCSN with Premier League Live, followed by Manchester City-Newcastle at 3 p.m. ET.

NBC Sports Group presents the most ambitious, extensive and comprehensive coverage of the Premier League available anywhere in the world.  All 380 Premier League matches will be made available live in the United States on the networks of NBCUniversal, on the Premier League Extra Time bonus TV package, and streamed live on NBC Sports Live Extra -- NBC Sports Group’s live streaming product for desktop, mobile and tablets. In total, NBC Sports Group will present more than 1,600 total hours of Premier League programming.

  • Chris

    Great rating for an early morning broadcast. More evidence of the increasing popularity of soccer in the United States. I am looking forward to the rest of the season.

  • Sterling A

    Looks like NBCSN was quite smart to pick up the EPL and Formula 1. Both are significantly outperforming their previous broadcasters, and the coverage quality is very high.

    As an American fan of both Euro-centric leagues I’m quite happy…

  • Tested

    That is a success for soccer, but still pretty far behind other spirts.
    Seems like more exposure will help.

  • Pro Wings

    Huge success for soccer and NBC. They have actually given the league better exposure than ESPN ever has done especially when they aired Man U after Usain Bolt late in the morning.

    I think going forward that MLS should merge or put some of there teams over in the Premier League. I think it would be good for some of these American franchises to be able to have their teams compete against the best in the second best league in the world.

    NBC Sports is no doubt about it right now is the best sports division on all of television right now. The only area where they are outdone is NFL on CBS. I was so glad that NBC was able to hold onto the Olympic rights because I knew the other networks except maybe CBS would mess it up.

  • No_Lie

    @Pro Wings – There is no chance of MLS teams playing in the Premier League except for exhibition games. Besides the travel issue, there is the fact that the entire English Football Association operates on a merit system. Teams have to work their way up through the lower leagues to earn a place in the PL through promotion and relegation. Even Manchester United would get relegated to the next lower league if they had a terrible season and finished in the bottom three of the PL. It’s why these clubs are constantly buying star players because they can’t afford to let their quality drop off or risk a slide down the table and out of the league. Most MLS teams are no better than third or fourth league level of the English FA. But I would like to see NBC do some PL / MLS double-headers like ESPN used to do.

    I think NBC has done a very good job so far with their coverage and am happy they got good ratings in return. I do think though that they need to add a pay option to their online streaming coverage to offset Time Warner Cable’s refusal to allow their customers to use the current free steaming option.

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