UK Premier League viewing figures bounced back in 2017-18
UK television viewing figures for live Premier League matches climbed last season, a partial recovery following a significant decline in the 2016-17 campaign, it has been reported.
Audiences for games shown by pay-TV broadcasters Sky and BT Sport rose by 5 per cent in 2017-18, according to figures obtained by The Times newspaper. This does not include viewing on non-TV platforms, such as computers, smartphone and other streaming devices, nor pre- and post-match content.
The increase has been attributed in part to improved performances by popular clubs Manchester United and Liverpool, which finished second and fourth, respectively, behind runaway champions Manchester City, and the return of Newcastle United, another team with a large following, to the top flight.
BARB figures for the 2016-17 season showed viewing of live matches at a seven-year low, with Sky’s average down 14 per cent and BT Sport’s down 2 per cent on the previous campaign.
That was blamed to some extent on the first games of the season clashing with the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, which enjoyed blanket free-to-air coverage on the BBC, the UK’s public-service broadcaster.
Sky averaged 819,000 viewers and BT Sport 692,000 for live matches in the first two months of the 2017-18 season, well up on the previous year.
The latest figures will be welcomed by the two subscription broadcasters after they retained the bulk of live rights to the Premier League from 2019-20 to 2021-22 (128 matches per season for Sky and 52 for BT Sport) in deals worth a combined £4.46 billion ($5.86 billion), down from the £5.1 billion they are paying in the current three-year cycle.