Worldwide fans tune into English Premier League; expectations high


Photo used with permission from Creative Commons

Per Mertesacker of Arsenal in action against Aston Villa players Gabriel Agbonlahor and Fabian Delph during the English Premier League soccer match between Aston Villa and Arsenal FC at the Villa Park in Birmingham, Britain, January 2014

There is no doubt that sports viewership has gone down since March, with the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak forcing the cancellation of almost all sporting events. This undoubtedly affected one of the most global sports, if not the most popular: soccer. But with the new season underway, fans from across the world are beginning to tune into the most famous league once again: the English Premier League.

Prior to the beginning of the virus in March, and with little or no change, the sport’s popularity all over the world is extraordinary. According to the Sport Show website, soccer has regional popularity in countries all over Europe, Asia, Africa and America while the number of estimated fans is 3.5 billion people. That is nearly half of the world. The official Premier League website itself mentions that during the 2018-2019 season, the league was shown in 148 out of the 153 countries officially recognized by the United Nations.

As far as the quality is concerned, the Premier League not only has some of the best teams in the world, but also some of the best players in the likes of Harry Kane, Jamie Vardy, Mohammed Salah and Virgil Van Dijk to name a few. The firepower some of the clubs have leads to entertaining games every week, and it lures more and more people into following the sport. “I started watching the Premier League because of its non-stop action and the playmaking ability of star players like Harry Kane and Sadio Mané,” senior Daniel Tomashevsky said.

But it’s not just the top clubs that make the Premier League so amusing to watch. The league is known for being extremely competitive each year, with even the less skilled teams putting up great battles against the better teams. Going into the season, it is nearly impossible to predict the winner from the start, with almost half of the league having a genuine chance at the title. “I think that this season is at its most competitive because smaller teams like Aston Villa increase in quality and can match up well against the top teams. There is no favorite win to win the league title,” senior Wassim Merzoug said.

The league’s talent and success as a whole is even recognized by the Union of European Football Association (UEFA). Each year, UEFA comes up with a club coefficient list, which decides how many spots each country gets in Europe’s biggest competition: the UEFA Champions League. According to those rankings, England is ranked second and is given the most spots than any other country in Europe. “The Premier League continues to be the top tier of soccer worldwide, because it’s highly competitive and there are many different but effective styles of play,” senior Diego Ochoa said.

According to SportsPro, average viewership for the 12 matches originally picked by Sky for broadcast this season are reportedly up eight percent compared to the equivalent matches last season. So while there is some difference in viewership, the Premier League has not taken a large hit unlike other leagues in other sports, which speaks to how global this sport is. And with new, young star players like Christian Pulisic and Trent Alexander-Arnold emerging, the game is in great hands and the future looks bright for the Premier League.