The UEFA Champions League returned on Friday, and while most of the attention was placed on CBS Sports, the new English rightsholder in the US, the matches still aired in Spanish on TUDN. And with complaints about the CBS All-Access paywall and a lack of carriage for CBS Sports Network, many viewers ended up turning to TUDN for their coverage on Friday and Saturday. In fact, a record number of viewers for a Round of 16 match tuned in to TUDN’s coverage of Barcelona-Napoli on Saturday.
Per TUDN’s release, 1.1 million total viewers watched Barca’s 3-1 win at the Camp Nou, a record for the round in the US in any language.
TUDN’s telecast of FC Barcelona vs. Napoli on Univision, and simulcast on TUDN, this past Saturday generated record numbers, averaging 1.1 million Total Viewers 2+ from 3 p.m. – 5 p.m. ET – marking the most-watched Round of 16 match in UEFA Champions League history in the U.S. on any network and in any language. Among Adults 18-49, the two-hour telecast averaged 545,000 viewers to net the second best performance ever in the demo for a UCL Round of 16 contest. The match peaked with 1.14 million Total Viewers 2+ and 587,000 Adults 18-49 during the 4:30 p.m. – 5 p.m. ET time period. It is the top-rated UEFA Champions League match in the 2019/2020 season.
By comparison, Friday’s Man City-Real Madrid match “only” averaged 571,000 viewers. Regardless, that’s good for the sixth-most watched Round of 16 game.
Friday’s Manchester City-Real Madrid broadcast on UniMás and simulcast on TUDN delivered 571,000 Total Viewers 2+ and 345,000 Adults 18-49 from 3 p.m. – 5 p.m. ET, becoming the sixth and eighth most-watched contest ever in the round, respectively. The 2-1 result, in favor of Manchester City, peaked during the 4 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. ET time period with 602,000 Total Viewers 2+ and 383,000 Adults 18-49. Prior to the Barcelona-Napoli telecast on Saturday, it was the top-rated match for the Round of 16 in over five years.
It’s worth noting that these are numbers for just one network. In March, the second leg of Liverpool-Atletico Madrid drew 980,000 viewers across both TNT and UniMas, and the second leg of RB Leipzig-Tottenham drew 464,000 viewers across the same two networks. The month before, the first legs of those pairings drew 669,000 viewers and 446,000 viewers, respectively, on TNT and UniMas. In February, the first leg of Barca-Napoli drew 528,000 viewers on TUDN only, while the first leg of Real Madrid-Man City drew 828,000 viewers on both TNT and UniMas.
For one network, in Spanish nonetheless, the viewership numbers for these second legs are dizzying. 1.1 million viewers over both the English and Spanish broadcasts for Barca-Napoli would have been a success, but that amount of viewers on just one network is staggering. Given the amount of mid-week matches over the rest of the tournament (including Friday’s mouth watering Barca-Bayern Munich tie), it seems unlikely that we’ll see viewership this high again until the Final, two Sundays from now. But hey, CBS won’t be airing any of the quarterfinal or semifinal matches on cable, so maybe TUDN will be able to siphon away even more viewers from CBS All-Access and will keep posting ridiculous viewership numbers going forward.