While the United States is focused this week on the Super Bowl, a report released today by the consulting firm Initiative states that soccer's Champions' League Final attracted a higher global television audience than the Super Bowl last year. 109 million viewers watched the game in its entirety, eclipsing for the first time the 106 million fans who watched the Super Bowl . Given the worldwide popularity of the game of soccer, the report also noted that the Champions' League Final also had substantially more room to grow.
While America's premier event may have lost its perch atop the worldwide television ratings, the Super Bowl still dominates its competition when it comes to inflated economic impact statements. The NFL claims the 2007 Super Bowl generated $463 million in economic impact for the South Florida region while the 2008 Super Bowl produced over $500 million for Arizona. By contrast, this compares to a mere 35 million euro ($49 million) windfall for Moscow in 2008 and 45 million euro ($63 million) for Rome in 2009.
Of course, the Europeans aren't trying as hard to justify large subsidies for sports franchises. Either that or American economists consultants are just more talented at making stuff up than their European counterparts.