The UEFA Champions League final featuring Manchester United and Barcelona is available on Fox on Saturday afternoon — not Fox Soccer Channel, not Fox Soccer Plus, not FX, not Fox Sports Net, not Fox News, not Fox Business, not Foxsoccer.tv. The Fox national network, the one you turn to every week for “American Idol,” “Glee,” and “Bob’s Burgers.”
Coverage begins Friday night at 8 p.m. ET with a one-hour special on Fox Soccer Channel, anchored by Fox NFL Sunday co-host Curt Menefee. The panel includes the FSC usuals — Warren Barton, Eric Wynalda and Christopher Sullivan — as well as Aston Villa’s American goalkeeper, Brad Friedel.
On Saturday, the group returns at 1 p.m. ET on FSC for an hour-long preview show. Coverage then moves to the main Fox channel at 2 p.m. for a half-hour, high-definition production. Kickoff at Wembley Stadium in London is set for around 2:45 p.m., with Martin Tyler and Alan Smith calling the action. FSC will carry the postgame show at 5 p.m.
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The match will also be shown live on Fox Deportes and rebroadcast Sunday on FSC at 3 a.m., noon and 11 p.m., and on FSP at 5 p.m.
Last year, in its first live coverage of the final on a Saturday afternoon, Fox drew a 1.1 overnight rating for the less-apetizing match between Inter Milan and Bayern Munich — the same figure as a golf tournament on CBS and less than NBC’s NHL playoff coverage (1.6).
Overall, 1.6 million viewers watched the match on Fox and another 600,000 on Fox Deportes.
This Saturday, soccer is up against French Open tennis and senior golf on NBC, PGA golf on CBS, and the NASCAR Nationwide Series (second division stock-car racing) on ABC.