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Real-L’Pool is most-watched Champions League Final in US history

most-watched Champions League Final in US history

Real Madrid’s victory against Liverpool is a record breaker. According to data tabulated by World Soccer Talk, it’s the most-watched UEFA Champions League Final in US history, smashing previous records.

On English-language television, CBS averaged 2.761 million viewers. Of equal importance, the match is 23 percent greater than last year’s final between Chelsea and Manchester City.

Meanwhile, on Spanish-language TV, TelevisaUnivision’s coverage across Univision and TUDN averaged 2.6 million viewers.

Combined, the viewing number for the 2021/22 UEFA Champions League Final is a record breaking 5.36 million. The previous record was 4.15 million for the 2011 final between Barcelona and Manchester United.

Massive fanbases make the difference

Coverage of the final across CBS Sports and Univision was well received. Actually, though, the main reason for the spike in viewing numbers is the popularity of the Real Madrid and Liverpool fanbases. As soccer continues to grow in the United States, more fans are becoming attracted to the world’s best teams. Subsequently, it doesn’t get much bigger than Real Madrid and Liverpool, two powerhouses of Spanish and English soccer. For CBS Sports and TUDN, it was a dream final.

TelevisaUnivision’s coverage of the 2021/22 UEFA Champions League was the highest rated ever, averaging 624,000 viewers per game on Spanish-language television.

Most-watched Champions League Final on streaming

On streaming, CBS Sports says that the game is the most-streamed soccer match ever on Paramount+. However, exact numbers are not available. Nevertheless, the Real Madrid-Liverpool final scored triple-digit year-over-year growth in average audience, streaming minutes and households compared to last year’s final.

Last of all, Nielsen national rating numbers provided by CBS Sports and TUDN.

Photo credit: Getty Images

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  1. Buckles

    June 3, 2022 at 1:00 pm

    The UCL final wasn’t a great game. That being said, MLS is never going to be as entertaining as top club futbol bc the money to pay top talent just isn’t there. I find MLS entertaining. I think the ratings would improve if the networks put some promotion behind it. They need to have some sort of world club league where top clubs from all over the world compete. Not the club World Cup. That would make MLS more relevant around the world.

    • Ra

      June 3, 2022 at 3:40 pm

      It was a great game IMO. Nothing summarizes soccer better than a match like this. xG very different from final score. Abundant chances vs precision. And I dislike Real.
      World cup league? You want the Europa League on steroids? And I don’t see why it would make MLS more relevant. They can still play the Club World Cup by winning Concafap.

      • Buckles

        June 3, 2022 at 4:27 pm

        The teams in the club World Cup don’t take it seriously. Not Europa cup on steroids, UEFA Champions league on steroids. There would be a group stage and knockout. It would make MLS more relevant bc they would be playing teams from more visible leagues.
        It would be better than the tier below the Europa league tourney they created. Wouldn’t it be fun to watch Boca Juniors play Juventus or NYCFC play Tottenham? Not the same old teams playing each other all the time.

  2. Buckles

    June 3, 2022 at 7:38 am

    It speaks also to the reach of CBS which has favorable channel positions across the US. Game was promoted well and easy to find. CBS has done a good job. Would be great if they obtained MLS rights and gave it this kind of importance. Doesn’t seem likely based on the industry chatter. Maybe MLS will go with a short term deal, and then after the WC a network like CBS will be ready to jump in.

    • Ra

      June 3, 2022 at 8:45 am

      To me, the problem with MLS is the product, not the coverage. Coverage is an enabler, not the driver. The UCL final was a great product. And Paramount has been sub-par with replays and dvr controls. I was actually quite upset during the whole season; replays were not available when I got home.
      But to think that MLS problem is lack of exposure is wishful thinking IMO. I watch many leagues, MLS is not one of them.

    • Lou

      June 3, 2022 at 12:45 pm

      Agree. CBS is succeeding with its UCL viewership and coverage where ESPN is struggling with gaining traction with building a La Liga following. It’s sound strategy for CBS to broadcast key UCL matches on the linear channel and CBS Sports Network and exposing greater US audiences to the excitement of the Champions League. In contrast, I question ESPN going almost all streaming their La Liga matches while missing opportunities to put matches on the popular ABC, ESPN and ESPN2 Channels. CBS is showing how to increase viewership and ESPN should pay attention.

  3. Ra

    June 3, 2022 at 7:18 am

    Does that include streaming? If not, the total numbers could be substantially higher. Considering fans were used to watch it on Paramount+, many should have streamed instead. I did.

  4. Mercator

    June 2, 2022 at 5:48 pm

    I think this in part shows what a great job CBS and TUDN have done the last few years. Yes, much of the popularity is due to the two big teams, but these two also played in the 2018 final. Last time they played it was Fox I believe and they probably got no where near 5 million. CBS and TUDN put in the work all year, I still can’t believe Henry is regularly on US TV, and it pays off in the big games.

  5. dave

    June 2, 2022 at 2:20 pm

    Impressive viewership! Thank you for compiling and sharing the data. Interesting to see the 50-50 split in English-Spanish viewers. We will see how June goes, but 5.4 million is tough for the NHL Finals to match. More directional evidence for soccer vs. hockey in the US
    TUDN drawing 600k per UCL match caught my eye. Univision get more viewers for mid-PM workday matches than many soccer leagues draw with primetime or weekend coverage. Paramount+ likely had plenty of viewers also. Combined UCL average might equal or exceed EPL on NBC average

    • Michael

      June 2, 2022 at 4:20 pm

      I am a stats nerd and I like the ratings data as well If you look on the SBJ spotlight they are talking about just that. They are talking about all the sports viewership/ratings for Memorial Day weekend. NBA, NHL, Indy 500, F1, NAASCAR, UCL Final, etc. For the UCL Final if you add the Spanish and English together they got about the same as the English viewership of the Indy 500! That is a huge achievement! CBS and TUDN are doing a great job with UCL.

    • dave

      June 28, 2022 at 6:30 pm

      Stanley Cup Finals (NHL): over the 6-game series, SCF averaged ~4.6 million viewers per game on ABC. Game 5 had ~5.1 million viewers and Game 6 had ~5.8 million viewers
      Some people likely watched SCF on ESPN+ and ESPND, as some people likely watched UCL Final on Paramount+. It appears UCL Final may have been more viewed in the US than the average SCF game
      SCF (~4.6 million ABC) dominated UCL Final (~2.8 million CBS) among people watching OTA in English. The large Spanish-viewing audience (~2.6 million Univision and TUDN) drives the (likely) overall advantage for UCL Final. There is little Spanish viewership for NHL

  6. Anthony

    June 2, 2022 at 2:12 pm

    This year was the first year I felt European club soccer dominated the discourse on the day – both for Champions League and final day of Premier League. Helps that big networks (CBS, NBC) carry the matches, and it also helps these events aren’t during American football season.

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