The Premier League is a corporation in which the member clubs act as shareholders. Seasons run from August to May with each team playing 38 matches (playing each other home and away). Most games are played on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. It is often known outside the UK as the English Premier League (EPL).
The competition was 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, founded in 1888, and take advantage of a lucrative television rights deal. The deal was worth £1 billion a year domestically as of 2013–14, with BSkyB and BT Group securing the domestic rights to broadcast 116 and 38 games respectively. The league generates €2.2 billion per year in domestic and international television rights. In 2014–15, teams were apportioned revenues of £1,600 million, rising sharply to £2,400 million in 2016–17.
The Premier League is the most-watched sports league in the world, broadcast in 212 territories to 643 million homes and a potential TV audience of 4.7 billion people. In the 2014–15 season, the average Premier League match attendance exceeded 36,000, second highest of any professional football league behind the Bundesliga's 43,500. Most stadium occupancies are near capacity. The Premier League ranks third in the UEFA coefficients of leagues based on performances in European competitions over the past five seasons, as of 2016.
Forty-nine clubs have competed since the inception of the Premier League in 1992. Six of them have won the title: Manchester United (13), Chelsea (5), Arsenal (3), Manchester City (2), Blackburn Rovers (1) and Leicester City (1).
Despite significant European success in the 1970s and early 1980s, the late '80s marked a low point for English football. Stadiums were crumbling, supporters endured poor facilities, hooliganism was rife, and English clubs were banned from European competition for five years following the Heysel Stadium disaster in 1985. The Football League First Division, the top level of English football since 1888, was behind leagues such as Italy's Serie A and Spain's La Liga in attendances and revenues, and several top English players had moved abroad.