NBCSN ratings show how far Major League Soccer has to go to catch English Premier League Soccer in popularity

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NBCSN announced today that last Sunday’s game between Chelsea and Manchester United was its top-rated EPL match ever attracting an average of 1.29 million viewers.

From the NBCSN press release:

Sunday’s game, which was NBC’s first BPL match on a Sunday afternoon (and had competition from live NFL games), is the second-most watched live game in the U.S. in Premier League history (Manchester United-Chelsea, 2/5/12 on Fox, 1.38 million).

By comparison, the MLS game the previous evening between the LA Galaxy and Seattle Sounders with the Supporters’ Shield on the line averaged 699,000 viewers. It was the network’s most-watched MLS game ever.

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Weekend Soccer Preview: El Clasico Barcelona-Real Madrid, MLS LA Galaxy-Seattle SoundersFC and EPL

The biggest problem soccer fans will have this weekend is figuring out what to watch — and what to miss.

The biggest game on the planet gets under way at 9 a.m. on BeInSports. Don’t have the channel? No worries. The BJ’s at Del Amo Fashion Center in Torrance and in Glendale will open early for the game. They have a weekend brunch — so it’s a great place for a quick bite (pun intended).

Want an appetizer?

And then…

Chelsea and Manchester United clash at 9 a.m. Sunday on NBC. Preview all the BPL games here.

Finally…

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English Premier League Preview: Merseyside, North London Derby Weekend on NBCSN

Your comprehensive, interactive EPL statspack is here.

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English Premier League’s World Cup bump arrives

APTOPIX Britain Soccer Premier LeagueConverted: Record numbers of U.S. viewers watched the opening weekend of EPL action that included this Wayne Rooney goal for Manchester United in a losing cause against Swansea City (Associated Press photo).

That World Cup bump I wrote about a couple of weeks ago? It’s here.

NBC said today that:

  • Saturday’s Arsenal-Crystal Palace game on NBC averaged 885,000 viewers and became the most-watched opening weekend match in U.S. history. It out-drew last year’s corresponding fixture by 12 percent.
  • Sunday’s Newcastle-Manchester City game on NBCSN averaged 514,000 viewers, ranking it as the most-watched opening weekend game on cable in U.S. history. It topped the previous record holder in 2012 when ESPN showed the game.
  • All told, 3.3 million watched the five games that aired on NBC and NBCSN, the most ever for the opening weekend of EPL action.
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MLS Weekend Preview: LA Galaxy in Columbus to face Crew, Chivas USA host Vancouver Whitecaps in Carson

Newly-signed Galaxy veteran (if you know what I mean) Alan Gordon and the Galaxy face the Crew in Columbus Saturday at 4:30 p.m. live on Time Warner Cable SportsNet, with the hosts scheduled to make “significant announcement” before the game.

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Borja

Meanwhile, lowly Chivas USA have signed Ecuadorian forward Felix Borja, who played three season’s in Mexico with Puebla, on a year-long loan from Ecuador’s LDU Quito.

“We are extremely pleased to add such a gifted, international striker,” said Chivas USA coach Wilmer Cabrera. “Felix’s great experience in some of the other top leagues worldwide will help us not only on the field where we expect him to score and create goals, but also in the locker room where he can help mentor our younger players.”

Borja, 31, played 23 times for his national team and featured at the 2006 World Cup. He also had stints in Germany and Greece.

Also Houston plays Philadelphia at 7:30 tonight on NBCSN, while Real Salt lake and Seattle face off on the same channel at 11:30 a.m. Saturday.

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Weekly Soccer Column: NBC’s Barclays Premier League coverage begins Saturday

rebeccalowe

Host Rebecca Lowe and NBC returns Saturday with their second season of Barclays Premier League coverage.

Read more in this week’s column about NBC’s coverage plans for the new season.

Wondering what games are on what channel this coming weekend (and for the first three months of the season)? Click here.

Check out a comprehensive team-by-team guide to the new season here.

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Watch: EPL returns Sunday with Arsenal-Manchester City, while NBC’s Coach Lasso/Jason Sudeikis explains the basics of English football for the uninitiated

The traditional curtain-raiser to the EPL season is 7 a.m. Sunday on Fox Sports 1 — the annual Charity shield game that pits the EPL champions, in this case Manchester City against the FA Cup winners, which last season was Arsenal.

NBC’s coverage of the EPL begins the following weekend and while you wait, don’t miss the hilarious video above.

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