As we count down the last few hours before kickoff against Atalanta, I would like to point out an extraordinary fact. This match will be the first ever Serie A match broadcast on a big-four (ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC) network in the United States. ABC will be providing both pre and post-match coverage from 2:30 to 5 PM EST, giving La Viola their biggest market exposure since the International Champions Cup in the summer of 2019.
This is one of the highest viewed timeslots in the country. In the fall, NFL games are normally on, while in the winter the NBA and NHL both broadcast on this day. Fiorentina will even be competing with the final round of the Masters golf tournament today. So, millions of families will at least scroll past the Viola on their televsions this afternoon. For a rough estimate of what viewership will be, ABC’ prior broadcast of Bayern Munich vs Borussia Dortmund a month ago totaled 576,000 viewers, so I’d expect somewhere around 1⁄2 or 2⁄3 of that today.
What makes this so unbelievable is the fact that of all teams, the ABC executives chose to broadcast Beppe-ball and Fiorentina right before losing the Serie A TV rights. Tito’s reaction to this sums it all up:
Can't wait for mainstream America to be introduced to Serie A by seeing Atalanta take Fiorentina out back and beat them with an axe handle. https://t.co/ZqORJBtbrL— Viola Nation (@Viola_Nation) April 9, 2021
Why not Napoli-Inter next weekend? Juventus-Milan on May 9th? For Serie A fans to be introduced to Dušan Vlahović and Luis Muriel rather than Cristiano Ronaldo and Zlatan is an interesting decision to say the least. One has to wonder if Rocco Commisso helped play a role in this, given his career in cable broadcasting.
Keep in mind for us stateside fans that the Champions League final was not even broadcast on Network TV last season, and other than the occasional Premier League and MLS match there is hardly any footy on public access television. This a major opportunity for Fiorentina to take advantage and win over a lot of new fans. Those gorgeous purple jerseys won’t hurt, but their play on the pitch will also matter greatly.