via press release:
UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE SEMIFINAL MATCH SETS
AUDIENCE RECORD FOR FX
Chelsea FC vs. FC Barcelona is Most-Watched Champions League Non-Final Ever;
Most-Watched Match Since February Broadcast on FOX
New York — All the ingredients were there: two storied franchises going head-to-head in the penultimate round of the world’s most prestigious annual soccer tournament, playing a tense 1-0 match won by the home team in a memory-filled stadium packed with crazed faithful. So it was on Wednesday, April 18 when England’s Chelsea FC hosted Spain’s FC Barcelona at London’s Stamford Bridge, and over 1.1 million US soccer fans eagerly tuned-in to watch.
FX, FOX Network Group’s popular and fully distributed basic cable network, carried the action that day and attracted an audience of 592,000 viewers according to Nielsen Media Research, a network-record for soccer, and the most watched English-language soccer match on US television since FOX Sports’ Barclay’s Premier League broadcast between Chelsea and Manchester United on Sunday, Feb. 5, 2012 (1.377 million). Given available data, it is also believed to be the most-watched UEFA Champions League non-final match ever.
FX’s audience for the April 18 UEFA Champions League semifinal (592,000) was +21% compared to last year’s first semifinal (Real Madrid CF vs. FC Barcelona, 489,000). The first semifinal match on Tuesday, April 17, a 2-1 Bayern Munich win over Real Madrid on FOX Soccer scored 308,000 viewers, up +20% from the network’s first semifinal (FC Schalke 04 vs. Manchester United FC).
Both UEFA Champions League semifinals were also televised in Spanish on FOX Deportes, the nation’s leading Spanish language sports cable network. Tuesday’s semifinal saw FOX Soccer and FOX Deportes combine for 755,000 viewers, +37% compared to the opening Tuesday semifinal in 2011, with a huge 69% increase in the key M18-34 demographic (243K vs. 144K). Wednesday’s semifinal attracted 566,000 viewers on FOX Deportes, and 1.158 million when combined with the FX audience, +3% compared to last year’s combined first Wednesday semifinal. The M18-34 demographic posted significant +33% growth (472K vs. 355K).
The return legs take place in Spain this week, with FC Barcelona hosting Chelsea FC on Tuesday, April 24 (FOX Soccer/2:00 PM ET) and Bayern Munich traveling to Real Madrid’s famed Estadio Santiago Bernabéu on Wednesday, April 25 (FX/2:00 PM ET). FOX Soccer’s Rob Stone, Eric Wynalda, Warren Barton and guest analyst Brian McBride preview and break down all of the semifinal action on UEFA Champions League Pregame, presented by Geico live at 2:00 PM ET each match day from FOX Soccer’s state-of-the-art studio at the FOX Network Center in Los Angeles.
These four historic clubs are playing for a spot in the 2012 UEFA Champions League Final, the game’s marquee club showcase, live from Munich on Saturday, May 19 at 2:00 PM ET on FOX (pregame coverage begins at 1:00 PM ET on FOX Soccer).