UEFA Champions League beats Super Bowl for viewer numbers.. for now

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The Independent Online

London-based company Initiative Futures Sports and Entertainment have released a new report showing that the 2009 UEFA Champions League final was watched by more people worldwide than the NFL Super Bowl, according to the latest viewing figures.

An average of 109 million viewers tuned into the Champions League final between Barcelona CF and Manchester United FC on May 27 2009, while the average for February 1's Super Bowl XLIII between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Arizona Cardinals was 106 million. The total figures, including those who watched only part of each broadcast, stand at 206 million for the Champions League and 162 million for the Super bowl.

The third most watched sporting event was the Formula One Grand Prix in Bahrain on April 26, with 54 million viewers watching Jenson Button's third win of the season. Usain Bolt's sprint at the IAAF World Championships in Athletics mens' 100m final pulled in 33 million.

The Yearly Sport Key Facts report issued by Sportel in October 2009 also confirmed that association football is the world's most watched sport, comprising close to a quarter (24%) of the average sports viewer's consumption during the 2008/09 season.

The 2010 Super Bowl will take place on February 7 at the Miami Dolphins' Sun Life Stadium in Florida, and is between the New Orleans Saints and the Indianapolis Colts. CBS are broadcasting in the USA, while overseas viewers can catch the game on a variety of domestic and international cable channels including ESPN America and BBC One. The game starts at 18:30 Eastern Time (23:30 GMT).

The 2009/10 Champions League final will be on May 22 at Real Madrid's Santiago Bernabéu Stadium. The tournament's knockout rounds start on February 16, with two home-and-away matches between sixteen of Europe's top club teams.