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Champions League final tops Super Bowl for TV market

Andres Iniesta
Barcelona's Andres Iniesta soaks up Champions League glory

Uefa's Champions League final has for the first time replaced the NFL's Super Bowl as the most-watched annual sports event, according to a survey.

The Champions League final between Barcelona and Manchester United last May drew an audience of 109 million.

February's Super Bowl between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Arizona Cardinals attracted three million less.

The yearly report from Initiative Futures Sports and Entertainment found both events continue to grow.

Formula 1's season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was in third place with an average of 54 million, while the men's 100 metres final from the athletics world championships - featuring a world record from Usain Bolt - was fourth with 33 million.

With 2009 featuring neither a summer Olympic Games nor a World Cup it offered a chance to measure the two biggest annual sporting events.

While the Super Bowl's audience was overwhelmingly domestic, Uefa's product appears to be doing better in the battle for viewers globally.

"The Champions League has been better able to exploit the large burgeoning populations of the Asia-Pacific region," said Kevin Alavay, the report's director.

"While the Super Bowl has secured free-to-air broadcasting deals in a number of important European markets such as the UK, France and Germany, its distribution and popularity in the key Asia-Pacific region lags far behind the Champions League."


The report, in its seventh year, is based on official data from national bodies and measures "at-home viewing".

Alavay said the continued growth of the Super Bowl and the Champions League final was particularly impressive in a time of fragmentation in television audiences caused by digitalisation.

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see also
Barcelona 2-0 Man Utd
27 May 09 |  Europe
Steelers clinch sixth Super Bowl
02 Feb 09 |  American Football

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