On Friday, the 2012 European Championship kicks off from Poland and the Ukraine. The tournament is arguably provides the highest level soccer tournament in the world and the entire event will be broadcast on the ESPN networks in the United States. Many of the games will be on ESPN with a smattering on ESPN2. There will also be extensive coverage on ESPN3 for those with access to the internet streaming site As part of its coverage, ESPN has built its ESPNFC website as a one stop shopping center for all things related to the tournament. The site includes video, games, articles and additional in-depth coverage. ESPN has been fairly active in promoting the tournament on its other platforms and you should see a fair amount of highlights on SportsCenter as the event moves forward.
Coverage of the tournament has also been fairly substantial on some of the other sports sites such as CNNSi.com which will be sending Grant Wahl to the event starting on Sunday. To check out the CNNSI coverage, click here.
In 2008 the tournament averaged more than one million viewers across the ESPN platform. These numbers are especially impressive given that many of the matches are mid-day and there is no American team involved in the matches. Although the tournament will likely draw solid ratings on ESPN (probably better than last time), most media outlets will not cover the games so viewership will likely not increase as the tournament moves forward. Also, ESPN will not put any of the matches on ABC so the entire tournament will be in the cable realm.
We will keep an eye on the coverage over the next few weeks. Drop a line with any thoughts on the tournament.