The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) Champions League Final is commonly one of the world’s most-viewed annual sporting events. And viewers aren’t the only ones rallying; sports are a huge draw for media buyers and the payoffs for rights holders are rising.

In 2018, nearly 106 million people tuned in when LaLiga’s Real Madrid won the championship over English Premier League’s (EPL) Liverpool—the largest audience in the last five finals. It was the Spanish giant’s third-straight UEFA Champions League (UCL) crown, fourth in five years, and the fifth consecutive UCL title for a LaLiga side. 

The 2019 and 2021 UCL editions were all-England Finals, resulting in lower viewership interest in other parts of the world. 

This year’s Champions League final—a re-match between Real Madrid and Liverpool—promises to draw an especially large audience. According to Nielsen Gracenote’s Euro Club Index, a ranking of European football clubs, 2022 marks the first time since 2011 that two of the three best teams in Europe will meet for a final since FC Barcelona beat out Manchester United for the cup in 2011. In fact, nine of the world’s 20 best players on Gracenote’s Global Player Index will take the field during the final this year.

The championship also underscores the recent dominance of EPL clubs in UCL finals. Since 2018, EPL clubs have taken five out of eight Champions League final places and won two of the last three competitions. 

This improvement in the fortunes of Premier League clubs internationally coincides with growth in the media rights income

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