The latest edition of the El Clasico, a thrilling face-off between Spanish football giants Barcelona and Real Madrid, has set new viewership records in the United States. The match was part of the Supercopa de España Final held on Sunday, January 15th.
Despite being a showdown between two LaLiga clubs, this epic encounter took place in Saudi Arabia. This move mirrors recent trends seen with other tournaments such as the Supercoppa Italiana. Both Barcelona and Real Madrid secured their spots in the tournament championship by winning their respective semifinal matches.
Real Madrid triumphed over crosstown rivals Atletico Madrid with a 5-3 victory after extra time. Meanwhile, Barcelona dispatched Osasuna with a clean 2-0 win. These four teams were chosen based on their performance in last season’s LaLiga and Copa del Rey competitions.
ABC are looking to stake claim in the rising football audience in US
In an attempt to reach more viewers across America, ESPN/ABC broadcasted this high-profile match featuring two of Spain's top clubs. The media giant currently holds exclusive rights to broadcast matches involving LaLiga teams until 2029.
The decision to air this particular match on ABC was largely influenced by the popularity of both Barcelona and Real Madrid - two clubs that enjoy massive followings across America. This strategic move proved highly successful for ESPN/ABC.
According to ESPN's public relations department, an impressive total of 1.1 million people tuned into ABC last Sunday to watch El Classico - marking a significant increase from previous seasons by as much as 72%. Overall viewership for the entire Supercopa de España tournament also saw an increase - up by 45% compared to its previous edition in 2023.
In addition to these figures, ESPN Deportes contributed an extra 300,000 viewers to the match. This means that a total of 1.4 million fans watched Barcelona take on Real Madrid over the weekend.
Interestingly, this figure slightly surpassed the viewership recorded for NBC/Universo’s broadcast of Manchester City vs Newcastle held just a day before.
Supercopa de España outperformed Liga MX
The impressive numbers from Supercopa de España were significantly higher than those from Liga MX matches held during the same weekend. Historically, Liga MX has been the most-watched soccer league in America - even outperforming Major League Soccer in its own country. However, recent weeks have seen English Premier League taking over as America's most-watched soccer league.
El Clasico Supercopa's record-breaking viewership on ABC is a testament to both the growing popularity of Spanish football clubs in America and strategic broadcasting decisions by media giants like ESPN/ABC.