A research report by independent analysts Initiative Sports Futures shows that the total world-wide in-home audience from the Arsenal / Man U match was 8m people not the 1 billion that was widely reported by Sky at the time.
The match was available in 203 countries and territories, and if everyone who could have watched did watch it would hvae reached 611m homes. But of course only a tiny tiny minority watched. Official figures for the UK from Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board show the live audience was 1.477m people on Sky Sports.
So what about this crazed idea of playing matches outside England? To reach all the people in China who want it? Well actually the Premier matches in China are on a cable system that only has 300,000 subscribers.
The fact is, if you want to know who to blame for this rubbish about going abroad, it is the owners of Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea, Aston Villa and Derby County – the foreign owned clubs. These are the clubs whose owners have paid high levels of money for shares and now want to maximise the profit. And they have hit on the perfect money making method: taking the game out of England.
Knowing who is to blame does not solve the problem – but it makes me feel better. What will solve the problem is Blackburn 0 Bolton 0 – match abandoned through lack of quality.
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