Merseyside derby on Sky draws record Premier League audience
Sky, the pay-television giant, attracted 5.5 million viewers for its coverage of the Merseyside derby between Everton and Liverpool yesterday, a record for an English Premier League soccer game.
The match was shown across three separate channels on Sky, including its main event and Premier League offerings and free-to-air on Sky Pick.
The local derby, which ended goalless and was played behind closed doors, was given a prime time 7pm kick off slot and significantly surpassed the previous record viewership when 4 million tuned in for the Manchester derby between Manchester City and Manchester United in 2012.
Sky’s broadcast of the game topped its figures for Manchester City’s 3-0 win over Arsenal last Wednesday, as 3.4 million watched the clash on the first day the Premier League returned after a three-month hiatus.
The new record audience on Sky came a day after the BBC’s first-ever live broadcast of a Premier League game attracted nearly four million viewers, which at the time fell just short of the record.
The UK public-service broadcaster’s coverage of Crystal Palace’s 2-0 away win over Bournemouth drew in a peak audience of 3.9 million, with an average of 3.6 million, as the game was also given a favourable 7.45pm kick off slot on Saturday evening.
The match at Bournemouth’s Vitality Stadium had a peak audience share of 24.5 per cent and an average of 22 per cent.
The BBC also said its coverage drew almost 700,000 live programme requests on its iPlayer streaming service and the BBC Sport website and app.
The fixture marked the first time top-flight English league soccer had been shown on the BBC since 1988.
The public-service broadcaster will show a total of four games during the remainder of the season, with Norwich’s clash against Everton on 24 June its next airing, followed by Southampton’s encounter against Manchester City on 5 July. Its fourth fixture is yet to be confirmed.