Peak TV audience of 3.9m tune in for BBC's first Premier League match

Peak TV audience of 3.9m tune in for BBC’s first-ever Premier League match… but Crystal Palace’s win over Bournemouth is short of 4.04m record held by Manchester derby in 2012

  • The BBC ‘s first-ever Premier League game attracted a peak audience of 3.9m
  • BBC One broadcast Crystal Palaces 2-0 victory over Bournemouth on Saturday
  • But their viewings figures fell just short of the Manchester derby’s 2012 record
  • The BBC will broadcast three more Premier League games during Project Restart

The BBC’s first-ever Premier League game attracted a peak TV audience of 3.9million viewers on Saturday. 

BBC One’s broadcast of Bournemouth’s defeat by Crystal Palace was the first top-flight match the Beeb have shown live since 1988.

A record TV audience had been expected to tune in to watch the action from the Vitality Stadium but the figure fell just sort of the 4.04million who watched the Manchester derby in 2012.

The BBC’s first-ever Premier League game attracted a peak TV audience of 3.9million viewers

Goals from Luka Milivojevic and Jordan Ayew helped Roy Hodgson’s Palace side to a 2-0 win

The audience of 3.9m was a 24.5 per cent share of Saturday night’s TV audience and the match brought in an average viewership of 3.6m. 

It is thought those figures do not yet include the BBC’s iPlayer service so it could yet still rise.

The return of Premier League football also ensured Match of the Day was back in its traditional Saturday night BBC One slot. The highlights showed pulled in a peak TV audience of 2.7m.

Goals from Luka Milivojevic and Jordan Ayew helped Roy Hodgson’s Palace side move into the top half of the table while another defeat worsened Bournemouth’s chances of staying in the Premier League.

As part of the UK government’s demand for a third of the remaining top-flight games to be shown free-to-air, the BBC will broadcast three other matches.

Alex Scott pictured in full flow during her punditry work on Bournemouth vs Crystal Palace

Around 2.6million viewers tuned in to watch Raheem Sterling and Co beat Arsenal on Sky

They will include Norwich against Everton on Wednesday, Manchester City’s visit to Southampton on July 5 and one other, as yet undecided, match. 

It comes after Manchester City’s comfortable win over Arsenal on Wednesday night was the most-watched Premier League fixture in almost three-and-a-half years. 

With football fans starved of top-flight action for over three months because of the coronavirus shutdown, viewers tuned in in big numbers to see Pep Guardiola’s men dent the Gunners’ hopes of a top four finish. 

In total, 2.6m people watched Sky Sports’ coverage as Raheem Sterling, Kevin De Bruyne and Phil Foden struck against the visitors, who had substitute David Luiz sent off during the second half. 

Bournemouth vs Crystal Palace clearly surpassed that number but was still just short of the 2012 Manchester derby at the Etihad Stadium.

Vincent Kompany scored the winner that night, which helped City go on to claim their first Premier League title. 




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