Champions League Final Kicks Record Event Ratings For ESPN5/28/2009 6:55 PM Eastern
ESPN's final UEFA Champions League final went out in record Nielsen futbol fashion.
Kicking off at 2:30 p.m., the network's telecast of FC Barcelona's 2-0 win over defending champion Manchester United averaged a 1.1 rating, 1.07 million homes and 1.43 million viewers, making it the highest-rated and most-watched UEFA telecast in U.S. cable history.
The previous UEFA record was the 2008 Champions League final on ESPN2, which netted a 0.8 rating, 798,000 homes and 1.09 million viewers for ManU's penalty kick-triumph over Chelsea.
The May 27 match from Stadio Olimpico in Rome also became ESPN Deportes most-watched telecast ever with a 9.9 Hispanic coverage rating and 474,000 Hispanic homes. The contest was the Spanish-language network's second-highest-rated telecast ever, trailing the 10.1 for the Euro 2008 Final, won by Spain over Germany.
For all of Spanish-language cable, the only bigger rating and audience thus far in 2009 was an Interliga game between the Chivas and America teams on Fox Sports Sports en Espanol on Jan.3, which averaged a 12.0 rating and 613,000 Hispanic households.
Wednesday Champions League final marks the end of a 15-year run on ESPN networks. Fox Soccer Channel and Setanta Sports USA outbid the total sports network for the rights to the prestigious club tournament in 2009-10, 2010-11 and 2011-12.