ESPN 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.
- Liverpool v Aston Villa, 398,391 viewers (Monday, 3pm ET)
- Wigan v Man United, 374,799 (Saturday, 10am ET)
- Chelsea v Burnley, 253,934 (Saturday, 7:45am ET)
- 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.