High ratings expected for Fox Champions League broadcast

[TELEVISION WATCH] Saturday's European Champions League final on Fox could reach double the U.S. households that tuned in for last year's final on ESPN, according to Fox Sports chairman David Hill. The Inter Milan-Bayern Munich game airs at 2:30 pm ET. Last year's Barcelona win over Manchester United aired on a Wednesday afternoon.

Hill expects more than 2 million households to tune to the first U.S. network telecast of the Champions League final. Last year's final was seen by 1,066,000 homes on ESPN.

“We think that soccer is on the cu sp right now,” Hill said. “This can be bigger than hockey in about a decade, and that’s no disrespect for hockey. Hockey works in its established markets and has trouble where it’s been transplanted to, especially Phoenix. And despite the success of the San Jose Sharks right now, I can hardly see the West Coast being a hotbed of hockey fanaticism with the Kings and the Ducks and the Sharks and whatever else.”

ESPN had held U.S. Champions League rights since 1994-95 until FSC took them over this season. FSC, with about 37 million homes, has a fraction of the 98 million-plus for ESPN and ESPN2.

Two English Premier League games, Chelsea-Arsenal and Manchester United-Arsenal, were the most watched games on FSC this season drawing  403,000 and 370,000 viewers, respectively.

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