With the way that FOX Sports hyped Gus Johnson, you would expect by now after one year of announcing soccer games that Gus Johnson would be generating scorching hot viewing audience numbers that would help pay for the huge salary they’re giving him. But based on recent viewing figures for the UEFA Champions League, the results have been underwhelming to say the very least.
On Friday afternoon, FOX Sports PR announced that the network posted the most-watched UEFA Champions League matches ever. Hats off to Gus Johnson and Eric Wynalda for a job well done, right? But if you didn’t read the details, you may have overlooked the fact that the 511,000 who watched Real Madrid against Bayern Munich was FOX Sports 1’s best number for the UEFA Champions League, not the best number for a UEFA Champions League game (excluding finals) on US television.
With FOX Sports 1 being in 90 million homes, you would expect the viewing figures for a game featuring Real Madrid and Bayern Munich, two of the biggest names in European soccer, to generate far greater viewing numbers than (1) UEFA Champions League games shown on FOX Soccer, which had less than half the number of subscribers that FOX Sports 1 now has, and (2) Premier League matches shown on NBCSN (NBCSN is in 13 million fewer homes than FOX Sports 1).
However, that isn’t the case.
Here are a few viewing audience figures for comparable games to put the 511,000 people into context:
• 520,000 people watched FOX Soccer‘s 2013 broadcast of the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 game between Manchester United-Real Madrid. (Source)
• 592,000 watched the 2012 UEFA Champions League semi-final, first leg, between Chelsea and Barcelona on FX. (Source) (FX is in 97 million homes)
• 600,000 watched the Monday, February 3rd Premier League match between Manchester City and Chelsea on NBCSN.
To be fair, none of the above are apples to apples comparisons, but it does show that FOX Sports 1’s best viewing figure of 511,000 is disappointing given how many homes the network is in.
Looking at previous encounters between Real Madrid and Bayern Munich, 308,000 people watched the UEFA Champions League semi-final first leg between both teams on FOX Soccer in 2012. But given that FOX Sports 1 is in more than double the amount of homes than FOX Soccer was, last week’s 511,000 number still comes up short.