Fox enjoys big ratings bump for Barca-Man United

[TELEVISION WATCH] A glamour matchup certainly helped, yet combined ratings for Saturday's Barcelona-Manchester United UEFA Champions League final telecast on Fox and Fox Deportes crushed the figures produced by last year’s Inter Milan-Bayern Munich game.

According to figures compiled by Nielsen Media Research, the telecasts delivered a 2.1 rating and 6 share; which represents 4.2 million viewers nationally. (The share is the percentage of U.S. households with televisions in use that were tuned to the game.)

Compared to the 2010 final, the gains were 75 percent and 91 percent, respectively, over the 1.2 rating yielded by FOX and Fox Sports en Espanol (now Fox Deportes) that represented an audience of 2.2 million.

FOX’s telecast earned a 1.4 household rating and 4 share, with an audience of 2.6 million viewers compared to a 1.0 rating and 1.6 million viewers a year ago. The gains were 40 percent in rating and 63 percent in audience. Fox Deportes notched a 0.7 rating and 2 share (total audience: 1.6 million), gains of 133 percent in rating (0.3) and 167 percent in audience (600,000) over 2010.

The match also did very well in the highly sought 18-34 male demographic. The 1.8 rating is 29 percent greater than the overall number -- a rarity for a major sports event.

Locally, Washington D.C. led all markets with a 3.3, followed by Seattle (2.9), New York (2.8), Providence (2.8), Los Angeles (2.7) Austin (2.7), San Francisco (2.5), Las Vegas (2.3), Phoenix (2.3), San Diego (2.1), Tampa (2.1), Boston (2.0) and Hartford (2.0).

Fox Sports Media Group wrested rights to the Champions League away from ESPN two years ago, and has already extended that three-year deal by another three years. It holds U.S. rights to the competition through 2015.

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