ESS' ratings for FA Premier League Asia Cup

SINGAPORE: Ratings for the FA Premier League Asia Cup confirm that Asian football fans are passionate about the tourney regardless of the teams playing.

An official release informs that the average ratings for the live matches of the first-ever Premier League sanctioned event outside England which aired on ESPN Star Sports (ESS) across Asia and which featured top-level Premiership clubs, are comparable to that of regular season English Premier League (EPL) matches.

While clubs such as Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal currently drive the popularity of the EPL in Asia, it appears that interest in the clubs who played in the tournament in July and other lesser known clubs is not far behind.

Peoplemeter ratings for the broadcasts of the live matches played by Newcastle United, Chelsea and Birmingham City during the four-day tournament enjoyed ratings consistent with those seen during live broadcasts of EPL matches from the 2002/2003 season on ESS, the release states.

In Singapore for example, live broadcasts of EPL matches during the 2002/2003 season enjoyed an average of 4.7 Television Rating (TVR) points among males 15+ with cable. EPL matches featuring any of the three teams who played in the tournament also enjoyed an average of 4.7 TVR points while average ratings for a live FA Premier League Asia Cup got 3.5 TVR points.

The ratings in Hong Kong show similar consistency with live EPL matches and live matches played by any of the three Asia Cup teams enjoying an above 5 TVR point. The average ratings for the Premier League Asia Cup matches were 2.2 TVR points.

The 2002/2003 season, saw Newcastle and Chelsea each enjoying over 6 TVR points for at least eight matches during the period. Birmingham City saw five of its matches enjoying over 5 TVR points. This is comparable to Arsenal who ended the season with 11 matches enjoying at least 7 TVR points, Liverpool with nine matches and Manchester United with 18 matches.

The release adds that the EPL is the most widely distributed sports programme across Asia. It is seen in over 150 million homes on the ESS network with eight of 10 people with cable in Asia tuning in to the 2002/2003 EPL season.

According to Peoplemeter data, a single EPL match delivers reaches 167 per cent more viewers than all Asian cable news channels combined. While Asia's sizeable out of home audience remains unmeasured by in-home Peoplemeter measurements, research indicates that 64 per cent watch the EPL outside their homes every week.

Looking ahead, the popularity of these football clubs is expected to rise fuelled by the popularity of the League itself. Viewership of EPL among males 15+ with access to cable and satellite, is projected to grow by 63 per cent from the current 249 million to 407 million over the next ten years.

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