These are the top ten most viewed Sky games so far - and Newcastle United feature twice
Newcastle United can expect more games to be picked for TV in the coming weeks after two of their opening fixtures were among the most viewed in the top flight.
United have the most-watched game so far this season – the Liverpool match at St James’ Park pulled in 1.56m viewers across Sky Sports’ Main Event and Premier League channels – while the match against Swansea was sixth most viewed in the top flight so far.
And it appears as though there has been a rise in viewing figures: seven of the opening TV matches have pulled in more than a million viewers. Last season only four of the games picked for TV had broken the seven-figure barrier.
The figures – compiled by BARB – will give the league a shot in the arm ahead of TV negotiations and also prove that United remain a draw, despite not competing among the top six in the division.
Last season Richard Scudamore, the Premier League’s Chief Executive, admitted that United’s absence from the top flight had been a contributing factor in the division’s dipping viewing figures and they’ve been picked for all of their away games so far in an effort to make the most of their return to the top flight.
The fact that more than a million tuned in for the match at Swansea – two sides who are not expected to finish anywhere near the top six – is likely to see more away games switched for TV in the future.
The showcase works both ways: Newcastle’s largest televised audience last season was 886,000 for the crunch Easter game with Leeds. Two of their early season games have surpassed that – proof that the Premier League is the only place to be.
Liverpool look like the Premier League’s biggest draw with Spurs and Manchester United not far behind. Mike Ashley’s exclusive interview with Sky – titled Mike Ashley Talks Direct – pulled in 102,000 viewers.
Newcastle’s other games pulled in 794,000 (v Spurs on the opening day), 724,000 (against Huddersfield) and 718,000 (for the trip to Brighton).
There is also a looming battle over TV rights – with the top six looking for a bigger slice of the international payments. Newcastle are “flexible” over changing the way the merit payments are made.