Fallen giants Saint-Étienne boost Ligue 2 viewership

Once upon a time, Les Verts of Saint-Étienne were serial winners in French football. Together with FC Nantes, the Forez side dominated much of the period between the 1960s and 1980s, after which began the gradual rise of rival clubs. But while it was much to their disadvantage that they were relegated to the second tier of French football at the end of last season, their recent downfall has been fruitful for the league itself and, specifically, its broadcaster beIN Sports.

Last promoted to Ligue 1 in 2004, Les Verts would have sought to begin the current season on a blistering title run. As yet, they have had no such luck. After 22 games, they sit just 18th, one point above the bottom. But their poor season has not deterred their fanbase, both at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard and those at home on their sofas. BeIN Sports have announced viewership figures for the current season, and Saint-Étienne have set several records.

For matches displayed at 3pm on a Saturday afternoon, nine of the ten highest viewership totals came from games involving the Rhône-Alpes club. Their opening game against Dijon FCO garnered the second-highest Ligue 2 audience for a game broadcast by beIN, while their clash against SM Caen on the 17th matchday captured the highest audience for a beIN Sports Ligue 2 match. Overall, beIN recorded mid-season Ligue 2 viewership figures that were around three times higher than past seasons – Saint-Étienne’s return to the second division is a likely contributor to such heightened interest.

GFFN | Brendan Cox

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