An upset and a match between two of the big clubs in England's Barclays Premier League played large among Fox Soccer Channel viewers last weekend.
Fox Soccer Channel, which this week named David Nathanson to succeed David Sternberg in heading the dedicated futbol service, netted its best results among key demos men 18 to 49 and 25 to 54 on Dec. 12 and Dec. 13 with its coverage of Aston Villa's 1-0 win over Manchester United at Old Trafford and Arsenal's come-from-behind triumph over Liverpool, respectively.
The 12:30 p.m. (ET) telecast of Villa-ManU on Dec. 12 delivered a 0.9 rating against men 25 to 54 and averaged 329,000 viewers, according to Nielsen data. The latter marked FSC's second most-watched match since it became Nielsen-rated in October 2008, said network officials. The top match: the U.S.-Mexico CONCACAF Gold Cup final on July 26 garnered 369,000 watchers on average.
For its part, the Gunners' 2-1 win over the Reds in the 11 a.m. window last Sunday drew a 0.9 against men 18 to 49, leveling the service's best performance with that key group, while posting its second-best performance among guys 25 to 54 with a 0.8.
English teams also performed well for FSC during the recently completed group stages of the UEFA Champions League. The network's highest-rated live and premiere match telecasts over six match days from September to December both featured BPL sides: Chelsea vs. Portuguese club Porto, which premiered Sept. 15, delivered 154,000 total viewers, while the network's live coverage on Sept. 30 of ManU vs. Germany's Wolfsburg scored with 137,000 watchers.
Elsewhere, France's Olympic Marseille against Madrid on Dec. 8 was FSC's second highest-rated match of the 2009-10 tournament to date with an audience of 144,000. The live Group C showdown between Spain's Real Madrid and Italian power AC Milan on Oct. 21 captured 119,000 viewers on average.
Through a joint blind bid, Fox Sports International, representing FSC and other Fox holdings, and Setanta Sports USA this spring unseated ESPN, which had televised the Champions League tournament in the U.S. since 1994.