In a development that will have huge positive financial consequences for the elite in English football, the Champions' League final has overtaken the Super Bowl as the most popular televised event in global club sport.
The report has been compiled by Future Sports + Entertainment, an arm of leading international analysts Initiative, and details how the 2009 Champions' League final between Manchester United and Barcelona was the most-watched worldwide. It attracted 109m viewers in its entirety, and "reached" 206m people, who saw at least part of it live.
The Super Bowl, traditionally the biggest TV event in global club sport, attracted 106m live viewers for the whole thing, with a reach of 162m. "That was Super Bowl's best ever figure, and as an event it's still growing," said Kevin Alavy, an Initiative director. "Extraordinarily, the Champions' League is growing faster, with room for further significant expansion."
It will be interesting to see if Sunday's Super Bowl can retake the worldwide crown.
Given the star power of Peyton Manning and Drew Brees and the human interest factor of New Orleans it seems probable. It will be a high scoring game as well, which should attract more casual viewers.
Still, the global ratings success of the UEFA has to be recognized. Soccer continues to dominate the globe and the upcoming World Cup in South Africa will be a gigantic event. With a solid U.S. team in the field soccer's American profile will continue to grow, feeding into the global numbers for major soccer events.
It's likely we'll see these two major sports continue to trade punches for some time to come.