Commentary

Gus Johnson debut sets Fox Soccer afternoon viewing record

By Paul Kennedy

Gus Johnson's much-hyped soccer debut on Fox Soccer was the most-watched weekday afternoon telecast in the network's history.

The Real Madrid-Manchester United Champions League match averaged 451,000 total viewers on Fox Soccer, marking an increase of 258 percent over the 2012 Champions League average audience for the same stage (126,000).

The 2012 Champions League semifinal between Chelsea and Barcelona held the prior mark as Fox Soccer’s most-watched Champions League game and weekday afternoon telecast (425,000 total viewers).

Fox Deportes' Spanish-language telecast of Real Madrid-Man. United attracted 696,000 total viewers and was the most-watched sports telecast on all ad-supported cable that day.

CREW ADDS FOOD SPONSORS. MLS's Columbus Crew has signed Papa John’s Pizza of Central Ohio and Columbus-based White Castle as its official pizza and hamburger sponsors.

Papa John’s, which replaces Donatos as the Crew's pizza sponsor, will be sold in its own permanent in-stadium concession stand and in-stadium concession sales. White Castle hamburgers will be offered on the Crew Stadium plaza as well at concession stands.

“This marks the second professional sports partnership in Columbus along with the Blue Jackets,” said Papa John’s of Central Ohio operating partner and franchisee Charles Burris. “Our organization is ready to kick it off with exciting promotions and a lot of fun for fans of the Crew."

CENTRAL FLORIDA PANEL . Central Florida has been the news a lot recently with Disney Pro Soccer Classic at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex and talk of Orlando seeking an MLS franchise.

Phil Rawlins
, who brought USL PRO's Orlando City to Central Florida from Austin two years ago, will be moderating a panel discussion "The Future of Soccer in North America" sponsored by Moneycorp Thursday at the Celebration Golf and Country Club.

Panel speakers will be Peter Vermes (Sporting Kansas City), Fran O'Leary (Toronto FC) and Perry Van Der Beck (Tampa Bay Rowdies).

(Click here for registration information.)
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5 comments about "Gus Johnson debut sets Fox Soccer afternoon viewing record".
  1. James Madison, February 20, 2013 at 8:15 p.m.

    I doubt the number of viewers had anything to do with Johnson doing the play-by-play. The match was much hyped and worth the hype regardless of who was on mike.

  2. Tom TomTom, February 20, 2013 at 8:32 p.m.

    Agreed. Absolutely nothing to do with Gus Johnson. Although he was better than expected, he is still well below the top guys. He was worse yesterday in the Arsenal game. He has no feel for the game or for drawing the audience in to the game. I give him credit for trying, and hopefully he will get better, but the bottom line is that he is not a soccer fan, and is not a soccer person. Not sure what the end goal is in the minds of the Fox executives. Pretty sure they wouldn't ask John McEnroe to call a baseball or football game, so why put Gus in a postion where he can't succeed?

  3. charles davenport, February 20, 2013 at 8:37 p.m.

    who the hell is Gus Johnson? Where is JP Dellacamara?

  4. Tom TomTom, February 20, 2013 at 9:04 p.m.

    I'd take Gus Johnson over JP Dellacamara anyday, no question. It is a crime that someone is willing to pay JPD to call a game. He makes the games almost unwatchable.

  5. Ramon Creager, February 20, 2013 at 10:18 p.m.

    No problems with Gus Johnson. What I cannot stand is the Neanderthal Brits who do carry on about how English refs are the best. Did we really need to suffer through the color guy's obvious man-crush on Howard Webb during the Shakhtar Donetsk v. Borussia Dortmund game? Was it really necessary to prattle on about how proper English refs were so much better than the inferior foreign variety? Highly annoying, even if it were right, which it isn't.

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