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Fox Scores a 1.1 Overnight Rating for Champions League Final

Fox logo Fox Scores a 1.1 Overnight Rating for Champions League Final

The 2010 Champions League Final featuring Inter Milan against Bayern Munich drew a 1.1 overnight rating on the Fox Network.

How does that compare to last year’s final on ESPN? The 2009 Final, which was shown on a Wednesday afternoon, drew a 1.0 rating. So, in comparison, Fox’s rating is a disappointment. That said, you have to consider which teams played last year — Barcelona and Manchester United, two of the biggest clubs in the world. Inter Milan and Bayern Munich are big too, but they’re not in the same league as the Red Devils and Barca.

On Saturday afternoon, Fox had competition from other sports in terms of attracting viewers. The match was shown at the same time as Game four of the Flyers against Canadiens NHL Eastern Conference Final, which drew 1.6 on NBC. The third round of the PGA Tour Byron Nelsen Championship on CBS, meanwhile, drew 1.1

The last time a soccer final was shown on network television was the Euro 2008 game between Spain and Germany, which drew a rating of 3.1 overnight on ABC.

As of September 1, 2009, there are an estimated 114.9 million television households in the United States. A single national ratings point represents one percent of the total number, or 1,149,000 households for the 2009–10 season.

So what’s the verdict on the ratings? Fox was handicapped by having two teams in the final that don’t have massive appeal in the United States. Plus soccer fans (and sports fans) are not used to seeing soccer finals shown on the Fox Network. Despite all of the promotion Fox did, there were still soccer fans confused on Saturday who didn’t know what channel the game was being shown on. If the final had featured Barcelona against Manchester United or Manchester United versus Inter Milan, I have no doubt that the ratings would have been MUCH higher.

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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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34 Responses to Fox Scores a 1.1 Overnight Rating for Champions League Final

  1. Rami S. says:

    Many were asking me on which channel the game was showing and I was even unsure till the last few days when I confirmed with you. Some were thinking Fox Soccer Channel would have it on while others assumed it will be on ESPN network

  2. Dan says:

    I’m not sure I buy the “soccer fans didn’t know what channel the game was on” rationale to explain the rating. If you don’t know but want to watch the game, it should take you about 30 seconds to find the right channel. The pre-game show on FSC made it quite clear that the game was on FOX.

  3. Mat says:

    DirecTV had it listed as FSC at least through the day before.

    • Jay says:

      THAT IS A LIE!

      it clearly showed on the guide “UEFA Champions League Soccer” at 1130. That is exactly how it shows up when I recorded it.

  4. V says:

    Bruce Arena should not be on television or any position that requires him to speak, he was abysmal.

    But overall I was impressed with the presentation by FOX.

    • The Gaffer says:

      I agree V about Bruce Arena. He should not be on television. Seems like a nice enough bloke, but he’s not cut out for TV. Read more of my analysis of Fox’s coverage of the Champions League Final here:

      The Gaffer

      • AtlantaPompey says:

        Why would the Galaxy allow their manager to leave training to fly to Europe to be on camera for a few minutes for a match that doesn’t promote the MLS or the team? Next thing you’ll tell me is that they will let injured players fly to South Africa to give out books and shake hands to promote another country’s World Cup bid in direct competition to our World Cup Bid!

        Is anyone with any sense living in Los Angeles?

  5. CR7 says:

    Curt Menefee was bad as well,

    Inter winning the “Triple Crown”, had me going.

  6. fsquid says:

    That is a disappointing rating.

  7. Carmello says:

    Some of Menefee’s presentation was a bit embarrassing too. “It’s one to nothing, as we say here in America.”

    Come on dude, seriously?

    Honestly though, I normally dislike Wynalda and the hysterics he brings to any commentary or analysis, but he did a right fine job on Saturday.

    • Clampdown says:

      Agreed. That line from Menefee made me cringe. I didn’t have high hopes for him, though, after watching him on Fox Football Fone-in as he showed a lack of insight and repeated some lazy generalizations.

      Waldo has grown on me, and I thought he was pretty good.

      I would comment on what Arena had to say, but since I can barely understand anything he mumbles, I can’t.

  8. JJ says:

    What i found off was why did Fox Soccer channel show a pre-game to the final but did not show the game until 7pm central. While on FSC-Espaniol it was on live. O and then they FSC has a post game show. Didn’t understand that at all.

  9. The Gentleman Masher says:

    I just hope Fox gives this 2 or 3 years to ramp up…making good on their hint that they would show more international soccer on the main Fox Network would certainly help.

    Also – if we end up with something like Chelsea, Arsenal or Man U vs. Real Madrid or Barca, that would make a huge difference as well.

    • sucka99 says:

      problem is, the only thing they can show is stuff that peels ratings away from FSC. Their best option is a Big-4 clash on Saturday at 12:30pm and that would decapitate FSC’s ratings.

  10. equus says:

    Also, 2:30 ET on a Saturday afternoon means a lot of soccer fans are attending, playing or coaching soccer, not watching the game on TV. It’s tough no matter if during the week or on the weekend in this country.

  11. CTBlues says:

    None of my friends turned on the game because who was playing. We all root for Chelsea, but I’m the only real diehard out of the group and will watch just to help the ratings or if its a high profile game.

  12. El says:

    I don’t think you have to be “diehard” to watch a UEFA Champions League Final that doesn’t feature any teams you support.

  13. WSW says:

    Didn’t last year’s CL final beat Super Bowl’s ratings…

  14. Dave says:

    American media honchos need to understand that the best way you present a sport is through formulas which work already, I.e. Not trying to wrench menefee into something with which he obviously isn’t familiar. ie staying w barton wynalda etc and not overloading w new personalities. there is no need to beg the public to watch, u just look desperate

  15. BobbyB says:

    I don’t buy the “I don’t know which channel it’s on” excuse. Even if that’s true, how hard is it to do an internet search to find out? If you turn on your TV, almost everybody has program guide through their cable/satellite TV company – it’s pretty easy to scroll through and see where the game is (or do a search). It’s not rocket science.

    Fact is, people didn’t watch cause they didn’t want to watch.

    • The Gaffer says:

      Bobby, the majority of people who were “in the know” knew which channel it was going to be on, but there were some – yes, some – who didn’t know (based on e-mails and tweets I received on the day of the final).

      Plus, originally the final was supposed to be on FX, but was changed to Fox. Next year, though, more people will know it’s on Fox.

      The Gaffer

      • man99utd says:


        Could the ratings let-down be due to the limited number of people who watched the knockout stage. I discovered yesterday that FOX, et al drew 50% less than ESPN the previous year. If people cannot watch the knockout stage they certainly won’t be looking for the final. FSC cannot reach the same amount of people as ESPN even when using FSN. This is not a knock against FOX just a fact.

  16. Cabrito says:

    What about all the people watching the game at bars?

  17. No way around it, the rating is a letdown. I thought it would certainly far outpace the hockey game; but it’s like you said in your other piece earlier Gaffer, the game will only continue to grow in the U.S.
    Backing up what equus said tho, there were fans involved in playing Saturday afternoon who DVRd the game for viewing later in the afternoon.

  18. Casey G. says:

    just curious to know the ratings of the other previous finals that were on ESPN2 like from ’03-’08?? since last year was on ESPN

    my guess would be that ’04 would be the lowest between Monaco and Porto

  19. It's pronounced yoo-EFF-a says:

    It was very disrespectful of Menefee to call Inter Milan “the best in the world”. The World Club Championship exists for that purpose. He obviously didn’t know that, which showed that he shouldn’t have been anywhere near Madrid in the 1st place.

    What FOX should now do is show the Final of the Liberators Cup, and treat U.S. fans to what a real continental competition Final is like. Once casual fans get to see the Finals of both main continental competitions, that should whet their appetites to see both Champions clash for the World Title in Abu Dhabi. Then FOX can show that as well, and get some decent ratings.

  20. tk says:

    i had no interest in the game.i knew that inter and bayern do not offer spectacular styles of football but i still turn-on my tv just to support football in general

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