The thrilling battle for the championship in the 2011-12 English Premier League football season helped UK pay-television broadcaster BSkyB break a 15-year-old average audience record.
According to figures from SportBusiness Intelligence, Sky’s average audience for a live match was 1.571 million over 115 matches. The previous record was 1.494 million, set in 1996-97.
Audiences were boosted by the fact that the league title was not decided until the final minute of the last round of matches, and that two teams – Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur – emerged to challenge the traditional ‘big four’ of Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool for the title, with City eventually winning it.
The Manchester City v Manchester United match on April 30 gave Sky its biggest-ever audience for any sports event, 4.049 million viewers on average.
UK public-service broadcaster BBC also enjoyed strong audiences for its flagship Match of the Day Saturday-night highlights programme. Its 4.161 million average audience was its highest since at least 2000-01.
FOR MORE FIGURES AND ANALYSIS OF UK TELEVISION PREMIER LEAGUE AUDIENCES IN 2011-12, SEE THE LATEST EDITION OF SPORTBUSINESS INTELLIGENCE’S WATCHING BRIEF, PUBLISHED TODAY.