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BBC sets Premier League viewership record

The BBC’s broadcast of Southampton vs Manchester City was the most-watched Premier League match ever.

The Saints’ upset 1-0 win over the Citizens on Sunday, July 5 attracted a peak audience of 5.7 million across all platforms, including the BBC Sport website. This figure is significantly higher than the peak of 4 million that watched the 2012 Manchester derby.

Steve Rudge, BBC lead executive, football, said: “Having the Premier League has been great for our viewers. We were delighted to deliver this game to the widest free-to-air audience.”

The BBC is not typically a rights holder to the league, but was handed four matches as a part of Project Restart. This is the first time that the UK’s pubcaster has shown live coverage of the EPL. Amazon was also given an additional four matches to show for free, with the tech giant experimenting by broadcasting them on game streaming platform Twitch.

This is not the first time that impressive viewing figures have been charted during the Premier League’s lockdown return.

Sky Sports’ coverage of Manchester City’s 3-0 defeat of Arsenal attracted a peak of 3.4 million across two channels and an average of 3.1 million.

The first match back after an absence of 100 days – a scoreless draw between Aston Villa and Sheffield United – managed a peak of 2.7 million.