European soccer final wins TV prize

Man. U., Barca match dominates ratings

LONDON — The European Champions League soccer final between the continent’s two best teams scored hefty ratings for webs in Spain and the U.K. as Barcelona defeated Manchester United 2-0.

In Spain, the match, played at Rome’s Stadio Olimpico, generated 11.3 million viewers and a 61.7% share for free-to-air web Antena 3 TV.

This was the network’s biggest audience so far this season.

Factor in those Iberian auds watching Barcelona’s Lionel Messi clinch the winner in the second half on Sogecable’s paybox Canal Plus and the figure grows to a 65.2% share — some 11.9 million.

This was Spain’s biggest Champions League TV audience since the contest between local teams Real Madrid and Valencia nine years ago in the 2000 final.

In Blighty, ITV1’s coverage of the match easily outpaced “The Apprentice,” aired by BBC1, which normally wins its slot, making it the evening’s biggest program.

Despite Manchester United never looking like potential winners, apart from a strong perf in the game’s opening 10 minutes, ITV1 attracted 9.6 million viewers and a 39% share, according to unofficial overnight figures.

But viewing for the final was down on last year. Then ITV1 got 11.1 million viewers and a 46% share in an all-English game between Manchester United and Chelsea.

Over on payweb, Sky Sports 1, the soccer drew 1.79 million viewers for the two hours of live coverage from 7.45 p.m., a 7.9% multichannel share.

In Italy, pubcaster RAI achieved a 36% share on its RAI Uno channel. Average viewing figure was 9.63 million, peaking at in excess of 10 million.

“Given that there was no Italian team playing, we’re obviously pretty pleased with these figures,” a RAI spokeswoman told Variety.

In Germany, Sat-1’s coverage of the game won 6.55 million viewers, a 23% share.

The last German team in the competition, Bayern Munich, were eliminated by Barcelona in the quarterfinals last month.

In France, the match — shown on commercial free-TV web TF1 — attracted 8.25 million, a 34% share, twice that of its nearest rival, TV movie “Le Tuteur,” which attracted 4.1 million and a 16% share on pubcaster France 2.

Emiliano de Pablos, Erik Kirschbaum, Michael Day and Elsa Keslassy contributed to this story.