9 Reasons Why The Premier League Is So Popular

The Premier League, also known as “The land of milk and honey” to the teams in the lower leagues of English football that are trying to get there, is quite simply the biggest and most widely watched sports league on the planet.

Since its formation in 1992, the league has grown exponentially, expanding into a truly global entity. A major part of this growth has been the links to Sky, and the revenue generated through pay-per-view matches and sports TV subscriptions.

Below we will look at the 9 main reasons why the Premier League is so popular. Both intentional, and accidental, that have allowed the Premiership to become the most popular league in the world.

1. Atmospheric Stadiums With Full Attendances

Full stadiums are great, but they shouldn’t be taken for granted. Many of the top European leagues rarely fill their stadiums week after week. A full stadium, and the electric atmosphere that can generate, can make a game so much more exciting for the fans both in the stadium, and watching on TV.

Only the Bundesliga in Germany can boast a better average attendance than the Premier League, and some of that can be credited to the fantastic prices for tickets and the larger stadiums in Germany.

The average attendance for a game in Englands’ top tier is 38,000, only beaten by the Bundesliga on 42,700. After that, there is a drop of over 10,000 fans per game in La Liga in Spain and over 14,000 per game in

Seria A. The point here is that even with some incredible players playing abroad, in some amazing teams, in fantastic leagues, if nobody is there to see it, is it as popular? Barcelona may get over 100,000 fans at home on Sunday night, then play away the next week in front of 11,000, and surely that affects the atmosphere?

2. Honesty & Match Integrity

Scandalous refereeing decisions aside, you can trust the Premier League. And that matters. Fans may go home grumbling after a poor performance, they may even be threatening to never go back, secretly knowing they will be there again next Saturday, but they know the game is honest.

And while many leagues try to promise the same, it isn’t always a given.

The calciopoli scandal in Italy is an example of this. In 2006, Juventus, Fiorentina, AC Milan and Lazio, were all implicated in a match-fixing scandal that rocked world soccer. From dubious results, club owners buying points, and intimidating referees, the resulting relegation and stripping of Juventus’ title were a dark stain on Italian soccer.

But so far the premier league has thankfully avoided this issue. There may be players diving, but the league has fostered a fair playing field, something the fans can trust to be honest every week.

3. Underdogs & Dreams Of Glory

Underdogs generally succeed more frequently in the Premier League than other top leagues in the world. Real Madrid, Barcelona, Athletic Madrid, no team apart from these giants have won La Liga since Valencia in 2003-04.

Bayern Munich, and that’s pretty much it, apart from Borussia Dortmund, the Bundesliga is locked down tight! Bayern not only dominates on the field, but off it, whenever there is a player that stands out as a future star, they inevitably go and buy them.

Luckily for us, the Premiership has had 6 different winners in the past 2 decades.

Most noticeably Leicester City, and their fairytale of 2016. Leading almost all season, the club was expected to fall away like the upstarts they were.

Only they didn’t. And Claudio Ranieris’ team went on to clinch an unlikely, and very popular, league title.

This spectacular victory has given other teams hope, and while breaking the monopoly of the top 6 teams is difficult, with the right players and the right manager, fans do believe they have a chance of getting into Europe, and from there, pushing for the title.

That isn’t to say it will be easy, but the league has shown time and time again, that anyone can beat anyone, and all you need is hope, right? Some say it’s the hope that kills you, but the fans will say it’s the hope that keeps them going back for more.

4. Foreign & Domestic Support

One massive reason the Premier League is so popular is its global fan base. From Australia to Zimbabwe, you will be able to spot soccer shirts of Premiership teams everywhere.

With games being watched in hundreds of territories, showing live games in an estimated 643 million homes, the audience of Englands’ top league is believed to be around 4.76 Billion. Which is roughly half of the world’s population…

With those sorts of figures, it is little wonder that the popularity of the league is growing year on year.

5. World Class Managers

With more eyes on the Premier League than any other, making household names of previously unknown managers has become the norm. The sports top managers now regularly ply their trade in the English leagues and have been since the competition formed in 1992.

Sir Alex Ferguson made his name globally recognized at Manchester United, Jose Mourinho at Chelsea, Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool. Managers of every nationality, bringing new philosophies and tactics to the League.

It is a testament to the Premier League that it is so multicultural, and this in itself adds to its popularity. It doesn’t matter where you are from, there are players and managers from all walks of life, someone for fans to attach themselves to and support.

The most recent and possibly most famous of modern managers, Pep Guardiola, has won wherever he goes. And he is now doing the same in England, something that would have been unthinkable without the worldwide reach the league now has.

6. Financial Investment In The League

The Premier League is one of the wealthiest sports leagues in the world. With so many fans, in so many countries, all paying to watch the Premier League, and so many companies vying for the rights to the games and teams involved, it is inevitable that money should pour into the coffers.

From TV rights to sponsorship, final league positions, and stadiums full of paying customers, money is everywhere in soccer these days, and none more so than the top tier.

Winning the Premiership is no mean feat, 38 difficult games against some of the best opposition on the planet.

And as such the financial rewards are huge. Manchester City earned £153.9 million for winning the league in 2020/21, with Manchester United a close second on £153.5 million.

A cool £91 million was awarded to Sheffield United for finishing in last place, which just shows how important to teams in the Championship it is to get promoted.

Even if they are immediately relegated, the finances involved can support them for years, especially with the parachute payments given to support teams relegated.

7. Exposure From European Competitions

Another happy coincidence for the Premier League was the resurgence of English teams’ performances in Europe.

Nothing builds a club’s reputation quicker than a cup run, and the exposure of Premiership teams to the Champions League, and subsequent final wins, has boosted the popularity and following of the top clubs.

And with two all-English finals in the past 3 seasons, it is fair to say that this trend will continue.

For those that don’t quite make the grade in the Champions League, there is the Europa League, all bringing vital exposure and generating both new fans and financial rewards.

Again, this is an example of everything fitting together for the Premier League, with the financial clout, and the resulting quality players, you can expect to see English teams in the latter stages of the competition for years to come.

8. Worldwide Television Coverage

The Premier League is the most-watched sports league in the world. With a worldwide fan base, there is a need for worldwide coverage, and the introduction of Sky Sports in 1990, just two years before the first season of the newly-formed Premier League, has had a huge effect on the popularity of the sport.

Sky quickly realized the potential for allying themselves with the Premier League, football had been forced to change after the hooliganism of the 1980s and 90s, and the idea behind the creation of a new league was to modernize the game and make it accessible to everyone.

With all-seater stadiums with much tighter control over fans’ behavior, resulting in safer and more family-friendly environments all of this allowed Sky a much cleaner broadcasting option, something they could create drama and interest around from its inception.

Gone were the dreary Wednesday night games, players sliding around on muddy pitches while fans fought in the stands. In came soccer as entertainment, with foreign players strutting their stuff on a decent pitch, pundits in the studio whipping up interest in games.

Sunday suddenly became Super Sunday, matches involving the best teams were moved around to ensure the maximum number of people were watching. Hours before games even started there would be, and still is, stats being thrown around, rivalries scrutinized and overblown.

The more people that watched, the more money came flooding in, the more money, the better the financial rewards for TV rights. Clubs were suddenly awash with cash, spending it on better players, better stadiums.

9. Star Players & Global Megastars

Great clubs need great players, and many of the best players in the world now play for teams in the Premiership. The list of such players is almost endless and shows no signs of slowing.

Even Cristiano Ronaldo is back, after over a decade away, at Manchester United. The 36-year-old shows no sign of slowing down, and the media storm surrounding his return has been typical of the massive interest and popularity of the League and the player himself.

As many leagues in Europe suffer from the effects of the global pandemic, the finances involved in securing the absolute best have become more difficult for many once rich teams to pursue.

Not so the Premier League, with an average team worth of $1.29 billion, and a combined value of $25 billion, it is both the stability and wealth of the league that attracts its very best to the country.

And so the wheel turns, better players means more fans watching, and even more, money coming in. Clubs actively recruit from abroad, not only because a player is a sound investment, but because the fans based in that country will start following their countrymans’ new team!

Asia is a prime example of this, with South Korean and Japanese players now playing in the Premier League, and clubs having their pre-season games in these regions to increase their fanbase, it can be as much about being a marketing decision as it can be a sporting one to purchase a player.

The Global Premier League

The majority of the points above are all interlinked, one leading to another, or tied to each other through intent or luck. It was lucky for Sky that English soccer decided to clean up its act, and lucky for the new League that Sky identified the opportunity to turn it into what it is today.

Without the money flowing into the game, the managers we have would still be at clubs like Real Madrid and Bayern Munich, the best players want to win trophies both domestic and European, so they too would have stayed away.

Then fans would have kept away, and until the Premier League began, attendances were at an all-time low, people were tired of seeing violence at games.

The tragedies of the Hillsborough disaster, or Heysel, of watching English hooligans marauding through the continent looking for trouble were still fresh in people’s minds.

The Premier League was a breath of fresh air, clean football in clean stadiums. With players from countries, many people could only dream of visiting, seeing them playing for their local teams was a revelation.

Having their club on the back pages of newspapers rather than the front, and the hours of TV coverage, the pageantry and the excitement, all these things combined to make the Premier League the most popular league in the world.

Connor Smith

I'm Connor, the guy behind SoccerPrime. I'm a former NCAA Div 1 college player that retired at the age of 21 due to injuries - which led me into a new career as a soccer coach.

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