Did Wayne Rooney saga help Manchester United TV ratings?

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When you’re broadcasting the world’s most beloved sports team and attempting to reach the world’s largest fan base, television ratings numbers are critical. Especially with such a valuable sports franchise like Manchester United. They, more than any other single FC, will have a significant influence on whether or nor English football takes of in the States. (or “Americans embracing soccer”)

Let’s look at how the Manchester United victory over Swansea did with the audiences stateside:

Washington, D.C. (2.2)
Tulsa (1.9)
Austin (1.8)
Seattle (1.4)
Buffalo (1.4)
Los Angeles (1.2)
Philadelphia (1.0)
Cincinnati (1.0)
Orlando (1.0)
Hartford/New Haven (0.9)

Yes, our nation’s capital came in first, as to be expected. It’s a very international town, and PL fans have their greatest presence in the District of Columbia and metro area. And as you might expect, this list is close to half eastern seaboard states. Although I seriously thought that the Eastern time zone would make up more than half. You’ll also notice that the U.S. #1 (New York City), #3 (Chicago) and #4 (Houston) markets are absent.

However, Saturday’s NBC telecast of Swansea City vs Manchester United drew the highest overnight rating (.8) in U.S. history for a Premier League opening weekend match. All eyes were on disgruntled stryker Wayne Rooney. He was involved with a couple of the United goals, even if he was as far away as possible from celebrating with his Manchester United teammates.

NBC announcer Kyle Martino on Manchester United Forward Wayne Rooney: “Although you don’t see a lot of smiling from him, he contributes.”

manchester-united

The Wayne Rooney soap opera will bring in additional viewers. As long as this controversy remains unresolved, it’ll attract new viewers. And NBC Sports Group broke a viewership record yesterday. They’ll have to keep breaking this records, because of all they have invested in this. NBC has put together the most ambitious, extensive and comprehensive coverage of the Premier League available anywhere in the world. All 380 Premier League matches will be made available live in the United States on the networks of NBCUniversal. So they need high ratings all around.

Paul M. Banks is the owner of The Sports Bank.net, an affiliate of Fox Sports. An analyst for 95.7 The Fan, he also writes on Chicago sports media for Chicago Now. President Obama follows him on Twitter (@paulmbanks)

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