The fortunes of both Newcastle United and Aston Villa were always going to be closely compared and contrasted this season.
Two famous clubs relegated to the Championship together, in all kinds of ways the media were going to match up the two clubs in any way they could.
So far Newcastle United have come out on top of Aston Villa in terms of League placing, points gained, winning matches, scoring goals, not conceding them, number of season ticket holders, average home attendances, number of travelling fans and so on.
However, Aston Villa now claim to have had one victory…
These two, apparently conflicting, headlines appeared today –
Chronicle Wednesday 7 December 2016:
‘Newcastle United are the biggest TV draw in the Championship – as these remarkable figures prove’
Birmingham Mail Wednesday 7 December 2016:
‘Aston Villa are the biggest TV draw in the Championship – bigger than Newcastle United’
The Chronicle story is based on how many people have bothered to tune in to the various live games on Sky TV.
The average Sky Sports viewing figures for all Championship games is 283,193 (*figures not available for 22-28 August), whilst Newcastle United have an average of 567,250 for each of their six live matches so far – easily the highest of all Championship clubs.
When it comes to individual games, there is once again no question of who supporters want to tune in to watch…
The top five most-watched live Championship games on Sky Sports this season:
Leeds United vs Newcastle United (Sunday, November 20) – 826,000
Fulham vs Newcastle United (Friday, August 5) – 531,000
Aston Villa vs Newcastle United (Saturday, September 24) – 524,000
Aston Villa vs Nottingham Forest (Sunday, September 11) – 416,000
Derby County vs Newcastle United (Saturday, September 10) – 388,000
Only one of the five doesn’t include Newcastle United, Villa claiming the fourth spot of the five against Forest.
As for the Birmingham Mail and Aston Villa claim of being the ‘TV top draw’, this is actually a story based on how many times Sky Sports have chosen to put clubs on live TV.
So far this season Aston Villa have had eight Championship matches shown live and Newcastle only six, with both clubs having another seven each scheduled between now and the end of February. Which will make it 15 live Championship Villa games in the first seven months of the season, compared to 13 for Newcastle.
So do we give Aston Villa this one accolade of being the ‘biggest TV draw’ in the Championship?
Well we’ll let you decide whether it is more impressive for Sky Sports to have chosen you most times, or for football fans to be more interested in bothering to watch your games…