Credit: Peter Powell/NMC Pool/PA Wire/PA Images

The Premier League made its much-anticipated return this week with the competition reaching a peak audience of 3.4m during Manchester City vs Arsenal across Sky Sports’ platforms.

In total Man City’s dominant victory recorded a 94 per cent increase in Premier League viewership compared to the 2019/20 season average. Moreover, the fixture was the most-watched Premier League game in more than three years.

Sky Sports broadcast the first two games of the restarted campaign, with Aston Villa’s goalless draw against Sheffield United being the first English top-flight fixture since 9 March.

The game garnered a peak audience of 2.7m viewers, a 43 per cent increase on the current campaign’s average figure.

Additional information released by Sky Sports includes the broadcaster’s website recording around 12m views on its top-flight videos in just under 24 hours, with 4.2m unique viewers.

During both fixtures, Sky Sports implemented its new fan experience features, which includes piped in crowd noises, after agreeing a deal with EA Sports to use its FIFA20 sounds, and the Sky Sports FanZone allowing customers to join a zoom call with other fans and friends during the games.

This weekend is expected to eclipse the competition’s return with the BBC broadcasting its first-ever live Premier League match, Bournemouth vs Crystal Palace, and the Merseyside derby being broadcast by Sky for free on its terrestrial TV channel Pick.

The Premier League announced prior to the league’s resumption that every remaining game will be broadcast through its UK media partners Sky Sports, BT Sport, Amazon and the BBC with the allocated fixtures from now to matchweek 35 already decided.

The news follows Amazon’s announcement that it will be streaming its four allocated Premier League games on Twitch for the first time ever as the company looks to broaden its potential viewership. 

La Liga’s viewership was also announced this week with the Spanish first division also seeing a rise in increase following its return, with the competitions reporting a 48 per cent increase in international viewership, highlighting how fans have missed watching live European football since the virus struck.

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