Following on from BBC’s impressive viewership during its Premier League debut, Sky Sports has revealed that Sunday’s Merseyside Derby is the most watched match domestically in the competition’s history.

In total the broadcaster recorded a 5.5m peak audience, with an average of 5m viewers during the 0-0 draw between Everton and Liverpool. The figure beats the previous record, held by Manchester United and Manchester City in 2012, of 4.4m.

The clash was one of Sky’s 20 allocated fixtures which would be broadcast on its free-to-air channel Pick, with it contributing to 1.9m viewers. As a result, around 3.1m viewers still tuned in to Sky Sports’ usual subscription channels.

Yesterday’s viewership is a significant increase from Sky Sports first free game, Norwich City vs Southampton, on Friday which garnered a peak audience of 2.8m and an average of 2.4m viewers. So far the BBC’s clash and the Merseyside derby currently are the top two viewed Premier League matches of all time. 

Despite a lack of fans in the stadium and broadcasters having to use a variety of engagement techniques, including using artificial crowd noises, the return of Premier League football has been largely successful in terms of viewing figures. 

According to The Daily Mail, the Premier League’s return on Wednesday saw a lot of fans opt to experience the artificial crowd noises, which is supplied by EA Sports’ FIFA 20. On average 75 per cent of viewers watched the competition’s return on Sky Sports’ Main Event channel.

With more games still available to be watched for free on BBC and Pick, alongside Amazon streaming its games on Twitch, it seems likely that a few more fixtures will be featured in the top ten in terms of viewership by the end of the season.