A Not So 'Special' Champions League Final


Jose Mourinho, the self-proclaimed “Special One,” may disagree.So, too, might Bastian Schweinsteiger, the German midfielder with one of the best names and frauleins in all of futbol - this side of the WAGs of French and English national teams, of course.

The upcoming Inter Milan-Bayern Munich UEFA Champions finale may appeal to soccer purists and those sick of the big Spanish and English clubs hoarding the spotlight. But for the unwashed U.S. masses Fox was hoping to draw to the event’s first Saturday final on May 22, the matchup certainly doesn’t have the kit appeal of the 2009 contest between FC Barcelona and Manchester United, which happen to sport two of the three best players in the world in the forms of Mssrs. Leo Messi and Wayne Rooney.

That game, which also featured Kim Kardashian’s current man of the match in Cristiano Ronaldo for his-then English team’s side, 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, as Barca dethroned United 2-0.

Inter’s oh so modest Mourinho certainly was on board, but if Barca’s attacking (after a rather desultory second-half push until the 75th minute) in the final fifth of the game and in extra time (with a goal disallowed for a handball at the top of the box) had produced a second goal, Fox would have been in a far better position to truly trump ESPN’s mark.

Actually with the weekend time slot, versus the Champion League final’s traditional mid-week afternoon time slot here in the States, Fox shouldn’t have much of a problem running ESPN’s totals out of Santiago Bernabéu Stadium, home of Ronaldo’s current team Real Madrid.

Things might not have been so special with the Nielsens, though, had this matchup remained on FX as was originally planned when Fox Soccer Channel and the late Setanta Sports USA wrested the rights from ESPN2, after a 15-year run.