Fox is telling the world that last week’s UEFA Champions League Final between Real Madrid and Atlético garnered over three million viewers. There’s a caveat. That’s the combined number between Fox and Fox Deportes. The broadcast on the main Fox mothership averaged 1.9 million viewers while Fox Deportes saw 1.2 million people for its audience. As the game went into extra time, Fox says it’s audience grew to 2.2 million.
It’s the most for Fox for a UEFA CL Final since 2011 when both Fox and Fox Deportes aired the 2011 championship between Barcelona and Manchester United.
For Fox, the game averaged a 1.1 rating with a 3 share which is 22% better than last year’s game, which received a 0.9/2. Viewership is up 36% when last year’s CL received 1.4 million.
If there’s one thing Fox on which can hang its hat, it’s the younger demographics. The game in men’s 18-34 saw a 67% rise from last year’s game, 1.5 this year vs. 0.9 in 2013. Fox is quick to point out it was beaten in this category by the NBA Conference Finals, but it was ahead of the NHL Conference Finals.
Does this mean people are seeing Fox as a soccer destination or is this a one-time aberration? Fox will tell you that its strategy of airing the Champions League over the last four years is paying off. But the real test is when the network begins airing the FIFA World Cup in 2018. By that time, will soccer fans have accepted the network or will they continue to rail against its coverage? We have four years to find out.