Fans of Manchester United are probably trying to forget the drubbing their team got on Saturday at the hands of Messi & Co, but here is a fresh reminder: The ratings for the UEFA Champions League final, which is like the Super Bowl for European soccer clubs, came in this morning. The game between Manchester United and Barcelona, which Barcelona won 3-1, drew 4.2 million viewers on Fox and Fox Deportes (formerly Fox en Espanol). That was up 91% from last year’s final between Inter Milan and Bayern Munich and up 86% from the 2009 final, which also featured Manchester United and Barcelona. U.S. viewership of the UEFA Champions League final has grown exponentially over the past decade. The English-language viewing has gone from 264,000 viewers on ESPN in 2002 to 2.6 million on Fox this year. That, combined with a string of viewership records posted by last year’s World Cup, underscores the growing popularity of high-level international soccer in the U.S.
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