For UEFA, the best possible move that could have happened in the United States during the past 12 months is moving television coverage of the UEFA Champions League in Spanish-language to Univision Deportes. At the same time, the worst decision Turner Sports could have made when acquiring the UEFA Champions League rights was not to also buy the Spanish-language rights, thereby giving Univision Deportes a huge opportunity to win over a new audience, which must have had a big impact on fewer than expected subscribers to the B/R Live streaming platform launched by Turner.
The domination by Univision Deportes in the TV ratings for the UEFA Champions League can be demonstrated by the numbers below.
Having said that, Turner Sports elevated the English-language coverage of the UEFA Champions League during the 2019/20 season compared to previous years under FOX Sports. Prior to the final, UEFA Champions League telecasts on TNT were up 54% compared to last season’s coverage. Plus coverage was way up for their pre-game shoulder programming.
Here are the six most impressive statistics from Univision’s first season of UEFA Champions League coverage:
1. Univision’s coverage of the 2019/20 UEFA Champions League season reached nearly 23 million total viewers, which was the most-ever on any U.S. network.
2. The 2019/20 UEFA Champions League season was the first time since 2013/14 that Spanish-language Champions League telecasts delivered a larger viewing audience than English-language broadcasts.
3. Univision Deportes had 60% of the total audience share for the UEFA Champions League this season in the United States.
4. Champions League matches airing on Univision and simulcast on Univision Deportes Network averaged 631,000 viewers. Across the full portfolio of 91 games, Univision networks averaged 231,000 viewers.
5. Univision Deportes’ telecast of the UEFA Champions League Final featuring Tottenham-Liverpool delivered the largest final audience in Spanish-language since 2015. The June 1 match, simulcast on UDN, reached nearly 4.0 million viewers during the broadcast, and averaged 1.4 million viewers. Compared to last year’s telecast on ESPN Deportes, Univision Deportes viewership saw a double-digit increase.
6. Univision Deportes shattered viewership records during the UEFA Champions League Semifinals, attracting the largest audience ever for a Champions League semifinal round, regardless of television network or language. Airing from April 30 – May 8, the four matches broadcast on Univision/UDN averaged 705,000 viewers, and delivered the two most-watched UCL semifinal contests ever on television, topped by Liverpool-Barcelona on May 7 at nearly 800,000 viewers.
Beginning this summer, Univision Deportes will change its name to TUDN as part of a major change in broadcasting sports in the United States.