Two weeks ago I wrote an article entitled Why the Gold Cup Final Should Be on FOX, which argued that the chance of a USA against Mexico Gold Cup Final would have been a potential home run ratings bonanza for FOX. However FOX stuck to its guns and decided to keep the final on FOX Soccer instead of putting it on FOX, the broadcast TV network. It is a decision I believe they would like to have back.
It was an accomplishment for FOX as FOX Soccer almost drew a million viewers and earned a 1.47 overnight share rating. That was their highest audience number ever and the first time FOX Soccer received over a 1.0 rating. However the majority of the people viewing the game in the United States was on Spanish language channel Univision. Univision, readily available across the country, received about eight million viewers for its coverage of the match. The eight million viewers for Univision’s coverage topped the viewing for all shows in the US last week — all television shows in all languages, beating NBC’s reality shows such as America’s Got Talent and the season premiere of HBO’s True Blood. At this time the staff at Nielsen (the television ratings people) are checking to see if this is indeed the first time a Spanish channel’s airing has topped the charts.
A difference of nearly seven million viewers between FOX Soccer and Univision is almost as big a disparity as the number of Mexican fans to American fans at the Rose Bowl. There is simply no doubt that if FOX had aired the game on its national network that they would’ve hit the jackpot. They would have attracted the casual fan through a simple ad campaign in the run up — as simple as their ads get when it comes to its weekly MLB coverage and its NASCAR coverage. Casual fans would have definitely tuned in, as we’ve seen previously during last year’s World Cup. They would have convinced the hard core followers of soccer in America that they are fully committed to their soccer coverage. FOX had prior shown some commitment with the recent rebranding of FSC but I believe this mistake has caused much speculation amongst fans.
FOX missed a sitter on Saturday night.