The Champions League Final is undeniably one of the most popular sporting events in the world. In 2009, the final match between world club powers Barcelona and Manchester United drew a television audience of 109 million, finally surpassing the Super Bowl in viewers that year by nearly three million people. Ratings analysis indicates the difference in viewership appears to be caused by the fact that the Super Bowl draws its audience from a mainly domestic base, while the Champions League is a continent-wide tournament and accordingly draws fans from a wider audience. Indeed, by nearly all accounts, over 300 million people tuned in globally to watch the Champions League Final in 2012, and there are no signs that this event will slow its growth in the coming years.
Despite the global popularity of this event, American ratings still lag far behind. In 2011, even though the event scored a 3.3 rating in Washington D.C., and a 2.9 rating in Seattle, the Champions League Final scored a measly 1.8 rating across the U.S. despite being available on 100% of U.S. households on a broadcast station. For reference, the typical MLS Cup Final scores a 1.0 rating in the U.S. These poor ratings results, however, have not stopped American based companies from becoming one of the select few Champions League sponsors. Of the eight official sponsors of the UEFA Champions League, two are based in the United States: MasterCard and Ford.