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.