Champions League dominates Spanish 2017 audience chart ahead of pay-TV switch
The importance of soccer, to broadcasters and viewers alike, in Spain is demonstrated by figures showing that live coverage of the sport accounted for 19 of the 20 most-watched television programmes in 2017.
The list, compiled by Spanish consultants Barlovento Comunicación, is headed by the extra-time period in the Champions League quarter-final second leg between Real Madrid and Germany’s Bayern Munich, which was shown by commercial broadcaster Antena 3 and drew an average audience of 10 million viewers, a 47.7-per-cent share.
Real won the 18 April match 4-2, and the tie 6-3, on the way to securing Europe’s top clubs prize for the second year running.
The normal-time period is fourth in the table, with 7.98 million viewers, while the full-match coverage, in the shape of the Champions Total, is sixth, with 7.22 million.
Other matches to figure highly include Real’s 4-1 defeat of Italian giants Juventus in the Champions League final on 3 June, which is second in the list, with an audience of 9.62 million for Atresmedia’s Antena 3, and the semi-final first leg between Real and Atlético Madrid on 2 May, which pulled in 9.56 million for the same network.
Antena 3's Champions League matches dominate the list, accounting for 13 of the top 20 programmes, but this will not be the case from next year as live coverage will only be available on pay-TV in Spain after Mediapro, the sports rights agency, and its broadcasting partner BeIN Sports landed exclusive rights in a three-year deal (from 2018-19 onwards).
The most-watched soccer games not shown by Antena 3 last year were the two legs of the Supercopa de España between arch-rivals Real Madrid and Barcelona, which drew audiences of 7.11 million and 7.14 million for Telecinco, another free-to-air channel.
The Mediaset España-owned network also drew more than 6 million viewers for the international friendly between France and Spain and the Copa del Rey final between Barcelona and Alavés, while the most-watched programme shown by TVE was the World Cup qualifying match between Spain and Italy, with over 5.6 million tuning in to the state broadcaster’s flagship La 1 channel.
Gol, Mediapro’s free-to-air digital terrestrial television sports channel, also made the top 20, with more than 5.3 million viewers for its live coverage of the second leg of the Copa del Rey semi-final between Barcelona and Atlético Madrid.
The only non-soccer event to make the top 20 highest-viewed shows was the Eurovision Song Contest broadcast on La 1, and, in all, the sport made up 42 of the top 50.
Tennis was the only other sport to make the extended list, with the aftermath of Spanish star Rafael Nadal’s victory over Stanislas Wawrinka in the final of the French Open coming in 33rd with 4.74 million viewers.
Given the popularity of soccer, Mediaset channels can be expected to figure prominently in 2018 after the broadcaster last month signed a deal worth just under €35 million ($42.2 million) for rights to all 64 matches at the World Cup being staged in Russia.
|Top 20 most-watched programmes in Spain in 2017|
|No.||Date||Channel||Programme||Audience (m)||Share (%)|
|1||18 April||Antena 3||Champions League - Real Madrid v Bayern Munich (extra time)||10.01||46.7|
|2||3 June||Antena 3||Champions League - Juventus v Real Madrid||9.62||56.9|
|3||2 May||Antena 3||Champions League - Real Madrid v Atlético Madrid||9.56||49.5|
|4||18 April||Antena 3||Champions League - Real Madrid v Bayern Munich (normal time)||7.98||41.9|
|5||2 May||Antena 3||Champions League - Champions Total||7.41||43.2|
|6||18 April||Antena 3||Champions League - Champions Total||7.22||39.7|
|7||7 March||Antena 3||Champions League - Napoli v Real Madrid||7.15||36.9|
|8||16 August||Telecinco||Supercopa de España - Real Madrid v Barcelona||7.14||50.5|
|9||13 August||Telecinco||Supercopa de España - Barcelona v Real Madrid||7.11||47.8|
|10||17 October||Antena 3||Champions League - Real Madrid v Tottenham Hotspur||6.60||35.0|
|11||26 September||Antena 3||Champions League - Borussia Dortmund v Real Madrid||6.3||35.6|
|12||14 February||Antena 3||Champions League - Paris Saint-Germain v Barcelona||6.24||33.3|
|13||28 March||Telecinco||International Friendly - France v Spain||6.23||33.0|
|14||27 May||Telecinco||Copa del Rey - Barcelona v Alavés||6.02||36.9|
|15||11 April||Antena 3||Champions League - Juventus v Barcelona||5.953||35.7|
|16||7 Mar||Antena 3||Champions League - Champions Total||5.947||32.9|
|17||2 September||La 1||World Cup Qualifier - Spain v Italy||5.64||44.8|
|18||7 February||Gol||Copa del Rey - Barcelona v Atlético Madrid ||5.33||26.5|
|19||13 May||La 1||Eurovision Song Contest||5.22||35.1|
|20||17 October||Antena 3||Champions League - Champions Total||5.2||30.2|
|Source: Barlovento Comunicación|
For the seventh year running, Mediaset was the leading broadcaster in terms of TV audience in 2017, with a share of 28.7 per cent, ahead of Atresmedia on 26.5 per cent, according to the Barlovento Comunicación report, based on Kantar Media ratings.
The most-watched individual channels were Telecinco (13.4 per cent), Antena 3 (12.3 per cent) and La 1 (10.3 per cent), while Mediaset and Atresmedia accounted for 85 per cent of advertising spend.
Although pay-TV is less developed than in other major European markets, the number of Spanish subscribers passed the six-million mark last year and it now accounts for 22.3 per cent of viewing time, up from 20.4 per cent in 2016.
In 2017, exclusive pay-TV channels had an average share of 7.8 per cent, an increase of 0.8 points.
The most-watched individual channel was BeIN LaLiga, the joint venture of Mediapro and BeIN, which holds premium rights to Spain’s top league, with a share of 2.7 per cent.
The channel ended the year on a high, with more than 1.8 million viewers for its live coverage of the Clásico between Real Madrid and Barcelona on 23 December.
This represented a 62-per-cent share of the pay-TV audience and a 24-per-cent share of all TV viewing.
For the first time, the match was produced entirely in 4K-HDR quality, with 30 4K cameras at the Santiago Bernabeu in Madrid, as league leaders Barcelona ran out 3-0 winners.
The BeIN LaLiga 4K channel is available on Orange, Vodafone and beIN Connect on Samsung connected TVs.
Mediapro was also able to offer enhanced virtual reality coverage via ‘Be The Player’, a service made possible by an Intel 360 camera showing the match from the point of view of the player at the heart of the action.
In addition there were dedicated cameras focused on star players Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi and coaches Zinedine Zidane and Ernesto Valverde.
The Clásico was broadcast live in 182 countries worldwide.