SBD/June 10, 2013/Media

Eighth Wonder: NBC Sees Overnight Rating Drop For Nadal's French Open Win

NBC earned a 1.7 overnight rating for Rafael Nadal’s straight-set win over David Ferrer in the French Open men’s final yesterday morning, Nadal's eighth title at Roland Garros. Last year’s final, in which Nadal defeated Novak Djokovic, earned a 2.0 overnight for coverage on Sunday before play was suspended in the fourth set due to rain. It concluded Monday morning. NBC earned a 2.6 overnight for Nadal’s win over Roger Federer in ’11 and a 1.6 for Nadal’s win over Robin Soderling in ’10. Meanwhile, NBC earned a 1.8 overnight for Serena Williams’ win over Maria Sharapova in Saturday’s women’s final, Williams’ first French Open win in 11 years. That figure is up from a 6% for Sharapova’s win over Sara Errani last year and tied for the best since '05. Williams’ last French Open win in ‘02 earned a 3.6 overnight for her victory over sister Venus (Austin Karp, Assistant Managing Editor).

FRENCH OPEN FINAL OVERNIGHT RATINGS TREND SINCE RAFAEL NADAL'S FIRST WIN
YEAR
MEN'S FINAL
RATING
WOMEN'S FINAL
RATING
'13
Nadal-Ferrer
1.7
S. Williams-Sharapova
1.8
'12
Nadal-Djokovic*
2.0
Sharapova-Errani
1.7
'11
Nadal-Federer
2.6
Na-Schiavone
1.7
'10
Nadal-Soderling
1.6
Schiavone-Stosur
1.7
'09
Federer-Soderling
1.8
Kuznetsova-Safina
1.4
'08
Nadal-Federer
1.8
Ivanovic-Safina
1.8
'07
Nadal-Federer
2.2
Henin-Ivanovic
1.8
'06
Nadal-Federer
2.1
Henin-Kuznetsova
1.8
'05
Nadal-Puerta
2.0
Henin-Pierce
1.9
         
NOTES: * = Match suspended in fourth set. Concluded on a Monday.

PLAYING DOUBLES
: NBC began its French Open coverage last Thursday by coming on the air with the Sharapova-Victoria Azarenka semifinal match, despite that same match still being broadcast on ESPN2 due to to rain delays, and SI.com's Richard Deitsch cited a source as saying that this "bothered ESPN management significantly." NBC showed the Sharapova-Azarenka match live "instead of filling the time with other programming as their contract allegedly demanded," meaning two nets were "airing the same match simultaneously in the Eastern United States." An NBC spokesperson yesterday said of the incident, which involved Tennis Channel as it sublicensed the match to ESPN, "There was a miscommunication among the three networks involved, and it has since been discussed and resolved." Meanwhile, Deitsch wrote West Coast fans again "were furious that NBC opted to protect" "Today" over airing "live coverage of the French Open men's semifinal" (SI.com, 6/9). SI.com's Jon Wertheim, who was a part of Tennis Channel's coverage this year, noted he was in a "compromised position" but wrote having "three networks at one event is a) problematic for the viewers, b) compounded by erratic streaming options, c) can lead to some unpleasant conflicts among the networks on site and d) is no way to grow a sport." TV is a "ratings game and tennis doesn't drive ratings that justify broadcasting matches over Today." Yet, "how does one grow a sport when the most meaningful matches aren't always broadcast live and even hardcore fans are never sure which network has which windows?" (SI.com, 6/9).

PLAYING AT THE NET: CABLEFAX DAILY reports while Time Warner Cable and the NCTA have "flagged the DC Circuit's ruling on the FCC's Comcast-Tennis Channel order in their challenge of the FCC's program carriage dispute resolution process, the FCC doesn't see much overlap." FCC Counsel James Carr in a letter filed with the court on Friday wrote, "The panel's opinion merely held that there was insufficient record evidence to justify the FCC's ruling ... (and) provides no support for petitioners' claim in this case that the FCC's program carriage rules are facially invalid" (CABLEFAX DAILY, 6/10).
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