Real Madrid is the European champion, and they have just completed six wins from their opening six matches of the season. But according to viewing figures in the USA, it appears that Spain’s La Liga is well behind the English Premier League when it comes to streaming matches.
The Athletic reports that during the 2021/22 Premier League season, NBC averaged a viewing audience of 507,000 per match on their various platforms. According to the Sports Business Journal, La Liga matches from the 2021/22 season streamed in the USA averaged 301,000 viewers a match.
Why is the Premier League so popular in the USA?
These stats seem to confirm what many suspect, and that is that the Premier League is one of the most popular streamed soccer leagues in the USA, and around the world. But even given the popularity of the Premier League, further research shows that when it comes to statistics on live streaming in the USA, soccer in general is still behind some mainstream US sports. Streams of football and basketball outperform it, but soccer now outperforms hockey and baseball, two huge sports in the USA. This shows that while the sport is making major advancements, it still has a long way to go to get near the main two US sports.
So while Premier League soccer might be more popular than La Liga with interesting soccer odds, it still performs worse than mainstream US sports.
The Premier League’s spending power
When it comes to comparing the Premier League to other leagues, it’s a different story. While it’s true that two or three of the sport’s biggest stars are at PSG in France, the majority of the biggest names play in England.
In the 2022 summer transfer window, ESPN and various other news outlets reported that the Premier League spent around £1.9 billion. That was more than the combined amount spent by La Liga in Spain, Serie A in Italy, and the German Bundesliga. And that even includes the business conducted by Barcelona, who went on a €100 million summer spending spree.
The Premier League offers big wages. And that in turn brings in the big names. Yes, Lionel Messi is in France, but England has the likes of Harry Kane, Kevin De Bruyne, and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Why does the Premier League have such spending power?
The answer to this question underlines the problem La Liga has when it comes to competing with the Premier League. Put simply, the English Premier League distributes its money more evenly than La Liga does.
This means the smaller clubs can afford to add quality players from around Europe to their squads. This makes the league more competitive. In Spain, Real Madrid and Barcelona draw the biggest slice of the cake, giving a lower percentage of money to the rest of the teams in La Liga.
So while Real Madrid and Barcelona can compete with some of the English spending, the rest of La Liga struggles to replicate what the lower Premier League clubs can spend.
What has La Liga done to compete with the Premier League?
In recent years La Liga has played a live match at noon (local time) on a Sunday to try and sell its product worldwide. This slightly replicates the Premier League, which has for some years now had a 12.30 pm (local time) kick-off on a Saturday.It’s one step the Spanish have taken to help compete with the Premier League. But on its own, it isn’t enough. Until there is a more even distribution of the money, it looks like the Premier League will continue to outperform La Liga in the USA and around the world.