The UEFA Champions League is the pinnacle of club football not only in Europe but all across the globe while the NFL Super Bowl is the feather on the cap for American football.
The Super Bowl 2020 is set to be played in the month of February at the Hard Rock Stadium in Florida while the Champions League final will be contested in the month of May at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul. And with just a few months left for these competitions to reach their finale, the debate of which tournament is better has once again been sparked.
While the traditional football fans claim the Champions League final is and will always be the better sporting event since unlike the Super Bowl, this match is a celebration of the sport itself and not a bunch of commercials on the big screen.
But in order for us to get a more transparent picture, we will have to look through the figures of the 2019 finales of the respective competitions.
Firstly the Champions League final of 2019 was played between two English clubs, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur and it was the Merseyside outfit who came out the eventual winners. And as per reports, this match had 11.3 million viewers across its digital and TV platforms.
In a statement, BT marketing director Pete Oliver said[as quoted by The Standard]: “This season’s Champions League and Europa League have been a great success for BT.
“Both finals were of huge interest with four English teams competing, which has never been done before in the history of both tournaments and came at the end of a season featuring incredibly entertaining matches that captivated the nation.”
On the other hand, according to Nielsen, the 2019 Super Bowl was watched by the fewest people in 11 years but still, the American showstopper had about 98.2 million people watching the game.
Obviously these sweeping numbers put the Super Bowl in the driver’s seat but this is primarily because the UCL final has always been more focused on maintaining the sanctity of the game.
For example, in 2015, the Champions League winners Barcelona got $108.4million in prize money whereas the Patriots received only $14.9million for winning the Super Bowl that very same year.
Also, a fan might have to shell out an average of $1000 in order to watch the Super Bowl inside the stadium but the UCL final can be enjoyed for an average ticket price of $100.
But one thing that the NFL has done perfectly over the years is to brand the tournament so exquisitely that even UEFA – the governing body of the Champions League, have chosen to follow suit.
Earlier, the UCL final meant just 90 minutes of intense football but now there is much more hype surrounding the game thanks to pre-match events which sometimes starts early on in the morning of the match-day. Also, since 2010, the UCL final is being played on a Saturday night in order to gather more viewership – a move that’s been imitated from the NFL books.
So to put it in a nutshell, the Super Bowl was, is and will always be a bigger celebratory event and their PR is something that can put even the Olympics to shame. But the UEFA Champions final will always be the benchmark for sporting pinnacles. The UCL has always gotten the footballing aspect perfect but in recent years they have come to the realisation that making the finale a spectacle is also of the utmost importance.