Univision’s Spanish-language UEFA Champions League coverage has done great numbers this summer. They announced in July that every remaining match from the competition’s restart would be carried either on Univision (broadcast) or TUDN (cable), and they drew a Round of 16 record (regardless of language) average of 1.1 million viewers for Barcelona-Napoli. A couple of their quarterfinal matches last weekend also drew big numbers, with Barcelona-Bayern Munich averaging 1.36 million viewers and Manchester City-Lyon averaging 1.18 million viewers, and even their midweek semifinals did well, with Olympique Lyonnais-Bayern Munich averaging 963,000 viewers and RB Leipzig-PSG averaging 879,000 viewers. And Univision announced Monday that coverage of Sunday’s final (where Bayern Munich beat PSG 1-0) averaged 2.05 million viewers, which is the best number (regardless of language) for a UEFA Champions League Final in the U.S. since 2015 (when Barcelona beat Juventus 3-1). Here’s more from a release:
Univision’s TUDN delivered the highest-rated UEFA Champions League final in five years as 2.05 million Total Viewers 2+ and 1.13 million Adults 18-49 tuned in to see German side Bayern München walk away the 2019/2020 champion. The performance caps off a streak which saw TUDN draw the most-viewed Round of 16, Quarter-Final and Semi-Final ever for the property in the U.S.
“This historic streak reaffirms for us that our big bet on European soccer has paid off as we strengthen our position as the undisputed Home of Soccer. We know our audience and their passion and fervor for world-class soccer is unmatched,” said Juan Carlos Rodriguez, president of Sports, Univision. “We would like to thank UEFA for its leadership in safely resuming the season and commend them for adjusting the format under these unusual circumstances. We are excited to build on these latest milestones and continue to take the UEFA Champions League to all-new heights in the U.S.”
Airing from 3-5 p.m. ET on Univision and TUDN, the match peaked with 2.63 million Total Viewers 2+ and 1.33 million Adults 18-49 from 4:30-5 p.m. ET. The thrilling 1-0 finish is the fourth most-viewed final ever with Total Viewers 2+ regardless of language, and the No. 1 rated on Spanish-language television of all-time with Total Viewers 2+ and Adults 18-49 in the U.S. Compared to 2018/2019, this year’s final saw a +41 percent and +52 percent increase in viewership with Total Viewers 2+ and Adults 18-49, respectively, on Univision’s networks.
There is some important context to consider here, particularly that Univision likely got a boost from those who primarily speak English but chose to watch in Spanish rather than signing up for streaming service CBS All Access or watching the few games (including the final) that were also shown on CBS Sports Network (which has limited distribution). And that only happened because CBS took over the rights in July, earlier than they’d expected (they were set to start airing the competition in 2021-22, but Turner exercised an opt-out near the end of June, which let CBS slide in). Broadcast CBS commitments kept them from using that network for this year’s conclusion to the Champions League, but with the upcoming 2020-21 tournament (set to start in October), CBS plans to show many more matches on TV (including the final on broadcast CBS). So the numbers may look different then.
But these are great numbers for Univision, including the final notching the highest Spanish-language total viewership ever. And as Rodriguez notes in that release, these numbers certainly do suggest that there’s a strong appetite for European soccer on Univision and TUDN. And that makes their decision earlier this year to extend their UEFA deal for three further seasons (through 2023-24) look like a pretty good one. Univision has long been posting strong numbers for various soccer properties, especially Liga MX, but it’s notable to see them doing so well with the UEFA Champions League. And that also fits in with their wider TUDN plans of emphasizing soccer and drawing in non-Hispanic viewers. So these numbers certainly look pretty good for those strategies.