Gold Cup Final: Noche de sábado es noche de fútbol

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I was going for Saturday night’s alright for soccer, but my esteemed colleague Laura Martinez says there isn’t a literal translation in Spanish.

At any rate, there’s a big match on June 25 in Pasadena, where the U.S. and Mexico will again do battle in the final of the CONCACAF Gold Cup, the biennial championship for North and Central America and the Caribbean. The winner in the Rose Bowl secures a place in the Confederations Cup, the important 2013 warm-up tourney for the FIFA 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Fox Soccer has been ringing up big gains with its tournament coverage to date: up 82% through the semifinal over the 2009 version of the Gold Cup. Sam’s Army’s 1-0 win in the semifinal against Panama on June 22 scored with 381,000 viewers, eclipsing the 369,000 who saw El Tri throttle the U.S. 5-0 in the 2009 final, as the net’s top telecast ever.

You can count on Univision’s coverage of the match dwarfing Fox Soccer’s tally on Saturday night. The top U.S. Spanish-language network’s presentation of Mexico’s 2-0 overtime win over Honduras on Wednesday averaged 7.1 million viewers. Univision’s top primetime sports telecast ever, Mexico-Honduras now ranks as the third most-viewed sporting event in the network’s history behind the 2010 FIFA World Cup Round of 16 match between El Tri and Argentina, which drew 8.7 million viewers, and Spain’s 1-0 win over The Netherlands in the 2010 World Cup Final in South Africa.

So, how many more viewers will watch the match on Univision than Fox Soccer on Saturday night? Based on an apples-to-oranges, or if you prefer fútbol-to-soccer, comparison from the networks’ presentations of the semifinal matches, Univision is sitting on a nearly 18:1 edge, vis a vis coverage of U.S.-Panama versus Mexico-Honduras.  (Univision averaged 3.24 million watchers for its U.S.-Panama semifinal telecast.)

Given the 9 p.m. kickoff, new records for both networks — pre-match coverage begins at 8 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. on Univision and Fox Soccer, respectively — could be at hand. As I meant to say in either language, Saturday night’s alright for watching soccer — whether you prefer Fútbol de la Copa Ora or the Gold Cup.