We couldn’t expect it to last forever.
Soccer has been growing at an exponential rate in this country (see: MLS expansion price) so it’s only natural for that pace to taper off.
For the past three years, EPL viewership has seen a steady rise as more Americans are tuning in each morning to catch their favorite English clubs. And NBC believes that trend will continue, given that it shelled out approximately $1 billion for EPL television rights through the 2021-2022 season.
But the 2016-2017 season may have thrown some cold water on the soccer fire in America.
According to the ratings site Sports Media Watch, EPL viewership is down year-over-year going into the final matchday of the season.
That trend also parallels what other networks are seeing with their major sports partnerships. NFL, down. NBA, down.
Some experts point to the presidential election and political climate as a reason. Others simply believe fans are consuming content in other ways.
But we believe there’s another factor involved.
While EPL viewership on NBC has declined, BeIN Sports has seen a tremendous increase in its La Liga ratings and FOX Sports is gaining strong traction with its Bundesliga coverage.
NBC has done a great job (arguably the best) with its soccer content across all its channels. But now other networks are taking notice and copying that formula.
Simply put, U.S. fans have more world-class soccer at their fingertips than ever before.