SBD/April 5, 2011/Media

ESPN Sees Ratings Drop For UConn's Loss In Women's Final Four

ESPN earned a 2.2 overnight Nielsen rating for Sunday night’s Notre Dame upset of top-ranked UConn in the NCAA women’s basketball tournament national semifinal. That is down 15% from a 2.6 overnight for the comparable late-window UConn-Baylor semifinal last year. ESPN in the early window earned a 1.7 overnight for Texas A&M-Stanford, flat compared to Stanford-Oklahoma last year. Through the regional final of the tournament, ESPN was averaging a 1.1 U.S. rating and 1.373 million viewers for nine telecasts, up 22% and 24%, respectively, from a 0.9 rating and 1.104 million viewers through the same point last season. ESPN2 has averaged a 0.4 U.S. rating and 495,000 viewers for 16 telecasts through the regional finals, down 20% and 24%, respectively, from a 0.5 rating and 651,000 viewers, when the net had aired 15 games (THE DAILY). MULTICHANNEL NEWS' Mike Reynolds noted the net's ratings for tonight's Notre Dame-Texas A&M Finals matchup "likely collapsed" when UConn and Stanford lost in the Final Four. Stanford had been the only team to defeat UConn this season, but "instead of a rematch ... it's two bracket-busting" No. 2 seeds playing for the title. Reynolds wrote it "may be good for the long-term health of the sport that programs other than UConn (seven crowns) and Tennessee (eight under Pat Summit) contend for and win national championships," but viewers "may not take so kindly to the absence of the Huskies, Lady Vols and Cardinal brands on ESPN" tonight (MULTICHANNEL.com, 4/4). ESPN's Tony Kornheiser said, "I think casual fans tune in for UConn. I don't think Texas A&M is going to draw flies with casual fans" ("PTI," ESPN, 4/4).
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