THE BBC’S first ever live Premier League game was watched by a peak audience of 3.9million on Saturday falling just short of becoming the most watched Prem game ever.
Crystal Palace’s 2-0 victory over Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium was the first English top flight game the broadcaster has shown live since 1988.
But the staggering figure was not enough to beat the most watched Prem game ever when 4.04m tuned in to Manchester City‘s 1-0 win over bitter rivals Manchester United on April 30, 2012.
Saturday’s viewers of the match on BBC One accounted for 24.5 per cent of the TV audience for the night.
And the current numbers do not include iPlayer views so the total could still rise.
The behind closed doors game topped Arsenal’s 2-2 draw with United on April 16, 2003 which was watched by a peak of 3.8m.
And the top five is completed by Liverpool’s 3-1 win over Man City and their 1-1 draw with United at Old Trafford – both earlier this season.
Those clashes were behind a paywall and were watched by peak audiences of 3.66m and 3.63m respectively.
Wednesday night’s game between Arsenal and City at the Etihad hit a 3.4m peak putting it just outside the top five.
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The return of the Premier League last week also saw Match of the Day return to screens on Saturday night.
And the flagship show fronted by Gary Lineker pulled in a peak audience of 2.7m.
First half goals from Luka Milivojevic and Jordan Ayew gave Roy Hodgson’s men all three points on the south coast as they leapfrogged Arsenal into ninth.