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Channel 5 set to score from Champions League failure of Manchester United and Manchester City

By Hamish Mackay

December 9, 2011 | 3 min read

That old proverb that it’s an ill-wind that blows nobody any good must be wafting through the headquarters of Channel 5.

It has been a case for sackcloth and ashes for fans of both Manchester City and Manchester United after their teams were unceremoniously dumped from the prestigious Champions League this week.

However, Channel 5, whose owner, Richard Desmond, is the proprietor of Express Newspapers, could be set for a £13million windfall due to a huge boost in viewers with the two clubs now relegated to the Europa League competition which is shown exclusively by the channel .

The Guardian reports that the average viewing figure for last year's Europa matches was about 1.4m, according to media agency analysis of Channel 5's viewing figures. Ties are shown on Thursday nights.

Says The Guardian: “In the best-case scenario, where Manchester United and Manchester City reach the final, more than 6 million would be expected to tune in – a record for Channel 5's Europa coverage, and the most since the 2003 Liverpool versus Celtic quarter-final tie.

“It would also more than double the viewing numbers on average across the tournament - to 4 million.

“The surge in viewing from an all-Manchester final would translate to an extra £10million for Channel 5, with analysis of Europa ratings indicating that the tournament is typically worth about £3million.

Channel 5 shows 15 live games a year, including a first pick of ties in the group stage. The broadcaster also has first pick of the quarter -final and semi-final and exclusively airs the final.

Industry experts estimate that United or City should attract a 3 million audience in the early part of next year's knockout phase, and 4-5 million viewers if they make the semi-final.

The Guardian quotes Nick Bampton, commercial sales director at Channel 5, as saying: “Manchester might not be happy but Channel 5 is delighted.

"We get the two best teams in England entertaining our audiences for free, which in turn delivers mass audiences for our advertising partners."

Unfortunately for Channel 5, ITV is taking over the rights to broadcast the tournament from 2013.

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