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ESPN Draws Impressive TV Ratings For Barcelona Opener

espn logo ESPN Draws Impressive TV Ratings For Barcelona OpenerESPN kicked off its English language coverage of the 2009/2010 La Liga season with impressive TV ratings this past Monday when it featured Barcelona’s first game of the season versus Sporting Gijon.

The current La Liga and Champions League trophy winners were featured on the flagship ESPN network for a 4pm ET kickoff against Sporting Gijon, the Primera division side who finished in 14th place last season.

According to Nielsen, the ratings for the Barcelona v Sporting Gijon game was a 0.3. The game was seen in 293,960 households by a total viewing audience of 326,596.

Just like the Premier League which is now on ESPN2 in the United States, news is traveling fast that La Liga games are available on ESPN. So the TV rating numbers should increase over time this season as more Spanish football fans watch the games.

How does the impressive 326,596 number compare to the coverage of the Premier League, which is shown in less households because it’s on ESPN2? According to the chart below, it would rank third.

  1. Liverpool v Aston Villa, 398,391 viewers (Monday, 3pm ET)
  2. Wigan v Man United, 374,799 (Saturday, 10am ET)
  3. Chelsea v Burnley, 253,934 (Saturday, 7:45am ET)
  4. Chelsea v Hull City, 164,485 (Saturday, 7:45am ET)

As far as the coverage of the game went, I thought that ESPN did a decent job. The network experienced technical difficulties for the beginning of the game when you could hear the international feed in the background while Adrian Healey and Robbie Mustoe did their own commentary of the game from the ESPN headquarters in Bristol, CT. The choice of Healey and Mustoe I found was a bit surprising. Personally I would have preferred to have the international commentary feed aired, but ESPN thought otherwise.

What are your thoughts about the initial TV ratings for the Barca game on ESPN? And what did you think of ESPN’s coverage of the game? Click the comments link below.

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About Christopher Harris

Founder and publisher of World Soccer Talk, Christopher Harris is the managing editor of the site. He has been interviewed by The New York Times, The Guardian and several other publications. Plus he has made appearances on NPR, BBC World, CBC, BBC Five Live, talkSPORT and beIN SPORT. Harris, who has lived in Florida since 1984, has supported Swansea City since 1979. He's also an expert on soccer in South Florida, and got engaged during half-time of a MLS game. Harris launched EPL Talk in 2005, which was rebranded as World Soccer Talk in 2013.
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10 Responses to ESPN Draws Impressive TV Ratings For Barcelona Opener

  1. tyduffy says:

    I’d imagine those numbers are huge when you combine them with the Deportes numbers.

  2. Evan says:

    Whenever you talk about these ratings on ESPN (Prem, La Liga), I think it’s most worthwhile to compare them to what is usually aired in that slot. Any idea what those ratings are?

    Also, I think saying that the game was available to more people because it was on the mothership, and not the Deuce like the EPL is off–is there anyone that gets ESPN but *not* ESPN2?

  3. JMo says:

    As a cule, I was like a Father who was proud of his little kid as they showed the match on ESPN.

    It was fantastic to see La Liga on a major national sports broadcaster. I think it will do well for the sport because the availability of the matches has been increased by the coverage on ESPN.

    I loved watching it in High Def which is nearly impossible when streaming on a compueter, and I thought the commentators were alright.


    Bring him to ESPN and we’ll have some fun.

  4. Both the coverage and the ratings of football in the United States say a lot about the game and the American perseption of it. While its popularity may never reach that of the NFL or MLB, it would be nice to start seeing ESPN showing some 3pm (EST) starts instead of NFL Live for the 15th time in May.


  5. Emack says:

    Anyone know if fox soccer is going to air barca tv like they did last year?

  6. PissedOffTVViewer says:

    Why is ESPN2 showing some drag racing thing when their schedule says they have La Liga – Sporting de Gijon vs Almeria scheduled at 10:55AM ET on ESPN2??

    I specifically rearranged plans to watch this.

  7. greg says:

    Agreed. I just recorded drag racing on my DVR when the schedule said Spanish Primera Team TBD. ESPN is amateur on the futbol coverage. You seriously had to move the schedule around on ESPN2?

  8. greg says:

    agreed. i just taped drag racing on my DVR when the schedule said Spanish Primera. Come on ESPN – this is amateur hour. You seriously had to rearrange programming on ESPN2?

  9. Tun says:

    ESPN is the master of last minute changes — I have more than once taped the Champions League games on the wrong channel (ESPN/ESPN2). They are not showing much respect to us futbol fans.

    Btw does anybody else remember that LaLiga used to air on ESPN back in the 00/01 season? Of course they had ChL back then too, two games a week. But what they did last season was outrageous: they are so gringlo-centric that all we got was EPL teams against minnows. Kobenhaven anyone?

    Even though I don’t have FSC, I will root for them. Have you seen their schedule for match day 1? Two live games, fourteen tape delayed — that’s almost the number of games we got on ESPN for the who season!

    Hopefully they will not srew the Liga/EPL games.

  10. Elisa says:

    Guess what people – frickin ESPN changed the channel at the last minute to ESPN Classic. Fortunately I was able to watch it on ESPN Deportes. ESPN needs to get it together!!!!

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