It is often said that, contrary to what most American may think, the most popular single sporting event every year is not the Super Bowl. No, it’s actually the UEFA Champions League final (and that audience is dwarfed by the World Cup final, which only happens every four years).
You may have missed it, but Real Madrid became the first team in the Champions League era to three-peat as winners of the world’s most prestigious club title on Saturday. Global numbers aren’t yet available, but some estimates suggest as many as 400 million people likely watched it. They saw one of the greatest goals in soccer history as well as two of the biggest gaffes the biggest stage has ever seen.
SB Nation only got a fraction of that audience, but with two of the most prominent English-language blogs covering Liverpool FC (The Liverpool Offside) and Real Madrid (Managing Madrid), we did assemble some very impressive coverage.
In the lead up, our bloggers helped script and/or produce seven original videos about the game. We explained Liverpool’s famous “gegenpress”; explained what makes Cristiano Ronaldo so good; highlighted the amazing season of Egyptian forward Mohamed Salah; identified both teams’ unsung heroes (Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino and Real Madrid’s Lucas Vazquez; assembled an amazing tactical scouting preview; and tied it all together with a video essay about two unstoppable forces colliding in the final (video above).
Although Liverpool’s fans were surely heartbroken at the result, they could at least find a community that was both willing to commiserate while still looking ahead.
Given all this, it should come as little surprise that SB Nation’s soccer blogs saw an overall 28 percent increase in traffic over this week compared to the week of last year’s Champions League final. (Interestingly, the single most popular post of the week was not generated by either of these blogs, but rather by Barca Blaugranes, where fans rallied around their anger about Real Madrid’s achievements.)
This was truly a team effort, but I did want to give a special thanks to some of the people who put in yeoman’s work: Noel Chomyn, Kiyan Sobhani, Lucas Navarette, Om Arvind, epicskyline, Tito O, Rob Usry and Joe Patrick.
Now, for the World Cup...