Sunday’s second leg of the 2018 Copa Libertadores Final averaged 1.15 million viewers on U.S. television across FOX Deportes and Telemundo combined in an enthralling game that was won by River Plate 5-3 on aggregate against Boca Juniors.
FOX Sports had the US rights to the game in both English and Spanish, but in an interesting turn of events, FOX decided to broadcast the game on FOX Deportes and to also sub-license the rights to Telemundo, thus creating the rare chance of seeing one game on two completely separate Spanish-language networks. FOX Sports resisted the temptation to broadcast the game in English, which would have certainly given the broadcaster an additional ratings boost for a game that was the most-anticipated cup match of the weekend.
Featuring commentary by Andrés Cantor, the River-Boca game averaged 631,000 viewers on Telemundo while FOX Deportes averaged 519,000 viewers for a combined total of 1,150,000 viewers.
FOX Sports’ rights to Copa Libertadores on US TV have come to an end under the current rights cycle. The anticipation is building regarding who will win the rights for the next rights cycle. Could Telemundo acquire the rights given the interest they showed in the competition after they got permission from FOX Deportes to broadcast the second leg? Or will Univision Deportes or FOX Deportes try to steal their thunder?
Whoever gets the rights will be a winner given the increased interest in the competition this year courtesy of the two Argentine clubs as well as several exciting earlier stages in the competition.
River Plate now advances to the FIFA Club World Cup where, you guessed it, Telemundo has the Spanish-language rights to the competition.