We already know that the 2011-12 UEFA Champions League Final between Chelsea and Bayern Munich will be televised live on the free-to-air FOX network on Saturday, May 19, 2012, but we learned more details today regarding coverage plans by FOX, FOX Soccer and FOX Deportes.
FOX Soccer’s pre-game coverage begins at 1:00 PM ET preceding FOX Sports’ over-the-air programming. FOX Deportes is carrying the match live in Spanish. Coverage of the Champions League Final will begin at 2pm ET on FOX. Live from Munich, FOX Sports’ Curt Menefee serves as event host, with FOX Soccer’s Rob Stone hosting on-site studio coverage. FOX Soccer analyst Eric Wynalda joins Tottenham goalkeeper and former United States National Team player Brad Friedel for pre-game, halftime and post-match analysis. Martin Tyler calls the match with analysis from Gary Neville.
This is the second year that Brad Friedel has been an analyst for FOX. Last year, he was at Wembley where he joined Menefee, Wynalda, Warren Barton and Christopher Sullivan.
According to FOX, U.S. viewership of the UEFA Champions League Final has exploded in recent years. The year 2011 was the seventh straight year that English-language viewing increased in the U.S. Over the last 10 years, the audience has increased almost 10-fold, from 264,000 viewers on ESPN in 2002 to 2.6 million on FOX in 2011.
The 2011 Champions League Final is the highest-rated and most watched in U.S. history. FSMG’s coverage on FOX (1.4 HH rating, 2.6 million viewers) and FOX Deportes (0.7 HH rating, 1.6 million viewers) combined to generate a 2.1 household rating and 6 share, drawing an audience of 4.2 million viewers nationally, dwarfing the ratings and audience of 2010 by +75% (1.2) and +91% (2.2 million), respectively. Significantly, the 2011 match on FOX and FOX Deportes also bettered the 2009 match, which featured the same Barcelona and Manchester United clubs, by +62% on rating (2.1 vs. 1.3) and +24% on viewership (4.2 million vs. 2.1 million).