via press release:
Real Madrid vs. Bayern Munich Second-Leg is Most-Watched Champions League
Non-Final Ever; FX Eclipses Soccer Viewing Record from April 18
Los Angeles (May 1, 2012) – America’s growing appetite for elite-level soccer was on full display in the month of April, as semifinal matchups from the 2012 UEFA Champions League averaged over one million viewers each, according to Nielsen Media Research, and all four semifinal contests, in English and English/Spanish combined, attracted bigger audiences than a year ago.
Last week’s games were among the most memorable in the tournament’s storied history, with Chelsea storming back from a two-goal deficit on Tuesday, April 24 against reigning champion FC Barcelona (FOX Soccer). On Wednesday, April 25, Germany’s Bayern Munich booked its place in the Final alongside Chelsea after beating Spanish giant Real Madrid on penalty kicks (FX).
All four English and Spanish semifinal telecasts averaged 1.033 million viewers, +29% from a year ago (800,000), with +55% growth in the key M18-34 demographic (381,000 vs. 246,000). The return-leg semifinal between Barcelona and Chelsea, televised on April 24 in English on FOX Soccer, recorded 438,000 total viewers, +71% vs. a year ago (256,000, Real Madrid vs. Barcelona). Combined, FOX Soccer and FOX Deportes drew 983,000 total viewers on April 24, +20% vs. a year ago (822,000).
FX, FOX Network Group’s popular and fully distributed basic cable network, eclipsed its own single-match viewing record set one week earlier. On April 25, the second semifinal between Real Madrid and Bayern Munich attracted an FX soccer record or 627,000 viewers, beating the 592,000 viewers that saw Chelsea host Barcelona on April 18. This number more than doubled the second-leg semifinal from 2011 (308,000 for Manchester United vs. FC Schalke, +104%). Combined, FX and FOX Deportes drew 1.236 million vs. the 1.1 million combined audience from April 18, making Real Madrid vs. Bayern Munich the most-watched UEFA Champions League non-final match in history.
On the grandest stage of European soccer, Bayern Munich and Chelseainside UEFA Fußball Arena Munchen on Saturday, May 19 in Munich, Germany. Bayern has the added advantage of being the first team to play a UEFA Champions League Final in its home stadium, while Chelsea’s quest to capture its first European Cup has been a longstanding passion of Russian billionaire owner Roman Abramovich. For the third consecutive year, FOX Sports is broadcasting this showcase event live at 2:00 PM ET on May 19. Additional broadcast details will be released in the coming days.