The 2018 League Cup final between Manchester City and Arsenal averaged 789,000 viewers across ESPN and ESPN Deportes, up 50 percent compared to the 526,000 viewers who watched the 2017 cup final on beIN SPORTS and beIN SPORTS En Espanol.
In the 3-0 Manchester City FC victory over Arsenal FC at the historic Wembley Stadium on February 25, the match announcers for the ESPN broadcast were Mark Donaldson and Craig Burley.
The English-language telecast delivered 672,000 average viewers on ESPN, nearly three times the audience for the final in 2017 (230,000 viewers). The game on ESPN Deportes delivered an average audience of 117,000 Hispanic viewers, with 69 percent of the viewers between the ages of 18 and 49.
The top 10 local markets for the ESPN telecast were: Raleigh-Durham (1.2 rating), Louisville (1.1), Providence (1.1), Greenville (0.9), Milwaukee (0.9), Portland (0.9) and San Francisco (0.9), Richmond (0.8), Chicago (0.8) and Austin (0.8).
Almost all of the English-language broadcasts of the 2017/18 League Cup tournament were shown on ESPN3 this season with a few select games, including the final, shown on cable television. Given the impressive viewing number with very little promotion or advertising of the game on ESPN, it’s possible that the self-acclaimed Worldwide Leader of Sports will feature League Cup games more prominently on its airwaves next season.
Sunday’s telecast marked the first English Football League final on an ESPN network in the United States.