Liverpool and United top TV table

Manchester United and Liverpool are the two clubs that attract the largest number of viewers at home reports Sporting Intelligence in a blog post that contains a lot of fascinating information.   In the couch potato stakes, Manchester United matches attract an average of 1.4 million viewers and those of Liverpool 1.31m.   No other team gets above 1.2 million.

World Cup viewing records in US

The World Cup has set new viewing records in the United States both for television and for live streaming through smartphones, tablets and consumers.   With most matches being shown in business hours, Americans have been turning to their devices to keep up.

The USA’s match with Belgiym arrived a 9.6 overnight rating with ESPN, the highest for any World Cup match the network has broadcast.   There has been a 50 per cent surge in live streaming compared with the previous record, set during the 2012 London Olympics.

Soccer still short of a breakthrough in the US

Every time there is a World Cup one can expect a slew of articles proclaiming that soccer has now ‘established’ itself in the United States.   To be fair, Major League Soccer (MLS) has made steady progress, but it is still some way behind the major traditional sports such as baseball and American football.

World Cup social media war

Facebook is gearing up for a fight over the World Cup with Twitter which has been seen as dominating live events marketing.   Facebook is claiming that it can reach 500 million fans and can offer advertisers more precise demographic targeting.

Facebook said that it had identified 500 million users with an interest in football.  This figure is double Twitter’s total monthly active userbase of 255 million.    

Liverpool help Sky boost viewing figures

Sky can point to a sharp rise in football viewing this season with average audiences up 7 per cent year on year despite the challenge from BT.   This is thanks in part to the success of Liverpool, a favourite among neutrals, who have also played some attractive football.   A down to the wire title race also helped.   A rise in overall customers, up 74,000 from January to March, beat analysts’ expectations.

Legal challenge to 3pm blackout

The televising of games at 3pm on Saturdays has been banned on the grounds that it would hit lower league attendances.   However, a report pubished by the EU has questioned whether the restriction can be legally upheld, given that it is also imposed on other European broadcasters.

A report from the Asser International Sports Law Centre in the Netherlands says that the blackout ‘sits at odds with the European Commission’s aspirations to promote cross-border access to audiovisual content.’

Liverpool top Premiership pay out

Liverpool may not have won the league title, but they received the biggest pay out from the Premier League because of the number of their games that were screened on television. They got £97.5m compared with £96.5m for title winners Manchester City.

Bottom club Cardiff City received £62m which is 64 per cent of what Liverpool received. It is also £1.2m more than Manchester United received as title winners last year, reflecting the value of the new television contracts.

FA broadcasting income takes hit

The collapse of the Irish broadcaster Setanta had long-run implications for the income of the Football Association.   It then had to negotiate a deal with ITV and ESPN who were able to beat it down on price. As a consequence, there was a £34m decline in broadcasting income last season and operating profit fell from £50m to £28m.

Possible tv sports rights shake up

Ofcom is to review whether BSkyB should have to offer its key sports channels to its rivals.  Sky currently has to offer Sky Sports 1 and 2 at a set price to rivals including Virgin Media and BT Vision because it is deemed to hold a dominant position in the market for premium sports rights.  A new review has now begun into whether such remedies are still appropriate, given changes in the market, such as BT’s investment in sports coverage.

Fears for Sky in football rights war

BSkyB shares slipped nearly 3 per cent yesterday after HSBC and Oriel both advised selling them.  There are concerns about how Sky might come out of a football rights war with BT.

HSBC told its clients that BT was ‘likely to win’ the next Premier League rughts auction.   Either the rights would be split as they are now, but at a much higher price, or BT would take a greater share of the packages.