Southampton-City secures Premier League audience record for BBC
Southampton's shock 1-0 victory over Manchester City on Sunday evening was the most-watched Premier League game of all time in the UK.
The game was aired on the BBC, the public-service broadcaster, and drew a peak audience of 5.7 million across the BBC One channel and iPlayer streaming service.
The match was given a prime time slot of 7pm (UK) on Sunday.
Steve Rudge, the BBC’s lead executive, said: “Having the Premier League has been great for our viewers… We were delighted to deliver this game to the widest free-to-air audience.”
This is the first season in which live Premier League action has been shown on the BBC, with the broadcaster being allocated a number of games during the ongoing period in which fans cannot enter stadiums because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Every Premier League match post-restart is available to view live on TV, either through the BBC, or one of the league’s existing live broadcast partners - pay-television giants Sky and BT Sport, and Amazon.
The UK government had insisted that the league could only return if all remaining 92 games (at that point), were broadcast live, with a third of those being made available free-to-air in some fashion.
As a result of this ruling, the previous record for a televised audience for a Premier League match came only last month, with Sky attracting 5.5 million viewers for its coverage of the Merseyside derby between Everton and Liverpool. That match was shown across three separate Sky channels, including its main event and Premier League offerings, and free-to-air on Sky Pick.
The BBC’s next Premier League match takes place on 15 July, with Burnley taking on Wolverhampton Wanderers at 6pm. This will be the last of the four fixtures the BBC shows live during the season’s run-in.
The broadcaster’s first live broadcast of a Premier League game, Crystal Palace’s 2-0 away win at Bournemouth in mid-June, drew in a peak audience of 3.9 million, with an average of 3.6 million. At the time, this figure was widely considered to have fallen short of expectations.
The broadcaster then showed Norwich versus Everton on 24 June.