The Premier League is an English professional league for association football clubs. At the top of the English football league system, it is the country's primary football competition. Contested by 20 clubs, it operates on a system of promotion and relegation with the Football League. The Premier League is a corporation in which the 20 member clubs act as shareholders. Seasons run from August to May, with teams playing 38 matches each, totalling 380 matches in the season. Most games are played in the afternoons of Saturdays and Sundays, the other games during weekday evenings. It is currently sponsored by Barclays Bank and thus officially known as the Barclays Premier League. Outside England it is commonly referred to as the English Premier League.
The competition formed as the FA Premier League on 20 February 1992 following the decision of clubs in the Football League First Division to break away from The Football League, which was originally founded in 1888, and take advantage of a lucrative television rights deal. This deal will be worth £3 billion as of 2013–14, with BSkyB and BT Group securing the rights to broadcast 116 and 38 games respectively. The Premier League is the most-watched football league in the world, broadcast in 212 territories to 643 million homes. In the 2010–11 season the average Premier League match attendance was 35,363, the second highest of any professional football league other than the German Bundesliga, and stadium occupancy was 92.2% capacity. The Premier League ranked first in the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) coefficients of leagues based on performances in European competitions over the last five years.
Since 1888, a total of 23 clubs have been crowned champions of the English football system. Of the 45 clubs to have competed since the inception of the Premier League in 1992, five have won the title: Manchester United (12 titles), Arsenal (3), Chelsea (3), Blackburn Rovers (1) and Manchester City (1). The current champions are Manchester City, who won the title in the 2011–12 season.
Famous quotes containing the word league:
“Half a league, half a league,
Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.
Forward the Light Brigade!”
—Alfred Tennyson (18091892)