The word ‘football’ may mean something different to those in the United States than to those in the United Kingdom.

While they may share the same name, the two sports couldn’t be more different. American football is mainly played with the hands, with the objective to score touchdowns. English football, or soccer as it’s otherwise known, is played with the feet, with the aim being to score goals. Unless you’re the goalkeeper, you cannot touch the ball with your hands at all!

But both are team sports and draw huge crowds.

In this guide, we’ll compare these two different, yet similar sports, through their biggest leagues — the National Football League (NFL) and the English Premier League (EPL).

We’ll explore which one is bigger in terms of popularity and finances. But first, let’s look at how each one works.

About the English Premier League

The English Premier League has been around in its current form since 1992 when the old English First Division was rebranded.

20 teams compete in the league, with each team playing a total of 38 games. For each win, a team gets three points. For a draw, they get one, and zero points for a loss.

The bottom three teams will be relegated to the second division, known as the Championship. The top team wins the league of course, but there are incentives for the top four teams too, who qualify to compete in the following year’s Champions League competition.

The teams that finish in fifth and sixth place qualify for the Europa League, another European competition and one that provides extra TV revenue.

There are a number of established teams in the league, including teams that have become global brands, such as Liverpool, Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea.

How does the National Football League work?

The NFL is bigger than the EPL in terms of the number of teams involved. There are 32 in all, 12 more than the EPL.

These 32 teams are split evenly into two conferences — the American Football Conference and the National Football Conference.

The NFL doesn’t follow a straightforward league system like the EPL, however. Teams compete over the course of an 18-week regular season to finish in the top seven, which qualify for the playoffs.

The playoffs are like a tournament of their own, with teams battling it out in elimination matches to reach the Super Bowl, where the winner of each conference play-off faces off to become the overall champion.

Similar to the EPL, there’s a huge interest in betting on matches in the NFL. It’s possible to browse a range of sportsbooks and betting sites where you can find predictions and offers on everything from who will claim the Super Bowl to odds on the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. It’s worth checking for welcome bonuses too if you’re considering betting on either the EPL or NFL, such as a first deposit match bonus.

Which football league gets more viewers?

The EPL is said to have a huge global audience, though the true figures are somewhat uncertain. The EPL itself claims to have a cumulative audience, over the course of the season, of 3 billion people.

The match in the 2020/2021 season between the two biggest teams, Manchester City and Liverpool, drew in 20 million live viewers alone.

But if we compare that with the NFL and their biggest game, the Super Bowl, EPL fans may feel a little disappointed.

The 2021 Super Bowl had an average viewership of 91.6 million in the US alone, with another estimated 30 to 50 million globally. This is significantly more than the biggest match in the EPL last year.

Over the course of the 2021 NFL season, the average viewership was 17.1 million. Knowing that the EPL gets around 3 billion viewers over the course of the season, and there are 380 matches played in total, that works out as an average of 7.9 million per match, or 79 million per match week.

This would make the EPL the far bigger football league in terms of viewership.

Which football league generates more revenue?

In terms of revenue, the NFL is one of the most lucrative in the world. Since 2001, it has grown markedly from around $4.3bn to $15.26bn in 2019, just before the pandemic struck. In contrast, the EPL generated around $6.1bn in 2021, making it far smaller financially than the NFL.