NBC Sports Group Nets Record Audience With Premier League

NBC Sports Group netted record ratings with its Premier League coverage last weekend.

The programmer, which is in the first of  a three-year, $250 million rights deal with England's top-flight futbol circuit, counted some 3.4 million watchers across four matches on NBC Sports Network, a pair on mun2 and a single contest on NBC, according to Nielsen data. That was the most for a Premier League opening weekend in the U.S., said NBC Sports Group officials.

The five English-language games on NBC and NBCSN garnered 3.2 million viewers - a 52% jump from the 2.1 million total for the five games on the previous rights-holders, Fox Soccer and ESPN2, last year.

NBC Sports Group's Nielsen table was topped by the 792,000 average audience for NBC's presentation of Manchester United-Swansea City on Aug.17, the biggest opening weekend match in U.S. history. The five games on NBC and NBCSN averaged 443,000 viewers -- 78% above the ESPN/Fox Soccer average of  249,000 for five games on the Premiership' opening weekend in 2012.

Backing out the broadcast numbers, the four matches on NBC Sports Network on Aug. 17-18 averaged 356,000 viewers, 43% more than the Fox Soccer/ESPN2 a year ago. NBC Sports Group officials said that delivery was the best-ever cable debut with the circuit.

NBC Sports Group's exclusive Premier League coverage continues on Wednesday August Aug. 21 at 2:30 p.m. (ET) on NBCSN with Premier League Live, followed by Chelsea-Aston Villa at 3 p.m.