The opening weeks of the Premier League has seen increased TV audiences for both Sky and BT, according to data from Enders Analysis, offering a potential boost to prospects for a coming auction of some of the lucrative broadcast rights.
Sky, who hold the rights to most games, has drawn an average of 819,000 TV viewers per match since the season kicked off in August, up 8 per cent year on year. Meanwhile BT has averaged an audience of 692,000 per match, an increase of 9 per cent.
The increased audience numbers helps Sky and BT justify paying a record £5.14 billion (€5.74bn) together for the UK live TV rights last time, an increase of 70 per cent and the largest in Europe for domestic rights.
The Premier League’s encouraging early figures might indicate that recent attempts to crack down on piracy are having an impact, said Caspar Stewart, a media analyst at Enders. Manchester United, the most commercially successful club English club, also featured in two of the games shown by BT.
“They always tend to bring in the biggest audiences,” Stewart added.
The figures from Enders, compiled from official Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board data, don’t include viewers who watch through Sky and BT’s apps and Sky’s no-contract NOW TV service.