Is it the afterglow of last summer’s thrilling FIFA World Cup, or another sign that world-class soccer continues to gain traction in the United States? While the answer is debatable, what’s certain is that FOX Sports’ coverage of UEFA Champions League and FA Cup competitions this calendar year has shown significant audience gains compared to a year ago, according to Nielsen.
On Monday (2/16), Manchester United eliminated Preston North End with a 3-1 victory in their FA Cup Round 5 match on FOX Sports 1, drawing 267,000 viewers, a +57% increase over the lone FA Cup Round 5 match on FOX Sports 1 last year between Everton and Swansea City (170,000). Among the Adults 18-49 demographic, the match more than doubled last year’s game (183,000 vs, 87,000).
Paris St. Germain’s 1-1 draw with Chelsea in UEFA Champions League Round of 16 action on Tuesday (2/17) scored 501,000 viewers and is FOX Sports 1’s most-watched Round of 16 match ever and fourth most-watched UEFA Champions League match overall. The game posted a +27% rise over Manchester City-Barcelona on the same match day in 2014 (395,000), while the gain in the Adults 18-49 demographic is +41% over last year’s Manchester City-Barcelona tilt (350,000 vs. 249,000). Wednesday’s (2/18) Round of 16 match featuring last year’s champions Real Madrid and Bundesliga side Schalke scored 461,000 viewers, making it the fifth most-watched UEFA Champions League match in FOX Sports 1 history.
Combined, FA Cup and UEFA Champions League live match average in the first two months of 2015 (12/29/14-2/18/15 vs. 12/30/13-2/19/14) is +23% vs. year ago (232,000 vs. 188,000). Individually, FA Cup is +22% (194,000 vs. 159,000) for the same date span, while UEFA Champions League is +22% (481,000 vs. 395,000)
The Round of 16 of the UEFA Champions League continues on FOX Sports 1 on Tuesday, February 24 (Manchester City vs. Barcelona, 2:00 PM ET) and Wednesday, February 25 (Arsenal vs. Monaco, 2:00 PM ET). The FA Cup returns with 6th Round action on Saturday, March 7.