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SBD Global/July 11, 2012/Media

ESPN Scores Best Tennis Audience Ever With Federer-Murray Wimbledon Final

ESPN averaged a 2.5 U.S. rating and 3.925 million viewers for Roger Federer’s win over Andy Murray in the Wimbledon men’s final Sunday, marking the net’s highest-rated and most-viewed tennis match ever. The net’s previous record was shared by the 1995 Australian Open Andre Agassi-Pete Sampras men’s final and 2002 Australian Open Jennifer Capriati-Martina Hingis women's final. The Federer-Murray match is up 39% and 48%, respectively, from a 1.8 rating and 2.652 million viewers on NBC last year for Novak Djokovic’ win over Rafael Nadal. Federer-Murray is also up from Nadal’s win over Tomas Berdych in ’10 (1.6 rating, 2.317 million viewers). The last time Federer appeared in the Wimbledon final in ’09, he defeated Andy Roddick, and NBC earned a 3.8 rating and 5.706 million viewers.

WIMBLEDON MEN'S FINAL AUDIENCE TREND
YEAR
NET
MATCHUP
RATING
VIEWERS (000)
'12
ESPN
Roger Federer-Andy Murray
2.5
3,925
'11
NBC
Novak Djokovic-Rafael Nadal
1.8
2,652
'10
NBC
Rafael Nadal-Tomas Berdych
1.6
2,317
'09
NBC
Roger Federer-Andy Roddick
3.8
5,706
'08
NBC
Rafael Nadal-Roger Federer
3.5
5,173


ONE FOR THE LADIES: ESPN earned a 2.0 U.S. rating and 2.234 million viewers for Serena Williams’ defeat of Agnieszka Radwanska Saturday for her fifth Wimbledon title. The equivalent three-hour window last year on NBC for the Petra Kvitova-Maria Sharapova final earned a 1.9 rating and 2.249 million viewers. Williams last appeared in the Wimbledon final in ’10, with NBC earning a 1.6 rating and 2.234 million viewers for her defeat of Vera Zvonareva. That telecast aired against a men’s FIFA World Cup quarterfinal match (Austin Karp, THE DAILY).

WIMBLEDON WOMEN'S FINAL AUDIENCE TREND
YEAR
NET
MATCHUP
RATING
VIEWERS (000)
'12
ESPN
Serena Williams-Agnieszka Radwanska
2.0
2,234
'11
NBC
Petra Kvitova-Maria Sharapova
1.9
2,249
'10
NBC
Serena Williams-Vera Zvonareva
1.6
2,234
'09
NBC
Serena Williams-Venus Williams
2.3
3,272
'08
NBC
Venus Williams-Serena Williams
2.5
3,654


THE TOTAL PACKAGE
: This year marked the first time ESPN aired complete coverage of Wimbledon. ESPN and ESPN2 combined to average a 0.7 U.S. rating (981,000 viewers), which is flat compared to the combined NBC/ESPN2 coverage last year. The audience for five Wimbledon telecasts this year also topped any previous ESPN/ESPN2 Wimbledon telecast since the net acquired Wimbledon cable rights in ’03. The net’s previous best Wimbledon audience heading into this year’s tournament was a women’s quarterfinal match in ’07 (Karp). TENNIS.com's Steve Tignor gave ESPN's coverage of Wimbledon an "A" grade and wrote the net "rose to the occasion" of broadcasting the entire tournament for the first time. Utilizing both ESPN and ESPN2 "gave it much more flexibility in what it could show, and if you were lucky enough to be able to see the half-dozen other matches on ESPN3 online during the day ... you really did feel like you were there." The net's announcers "still talk too much," and while Mike Tirico "was a good fit," Hannah Storm "wasn’t." Tignor: "Still, this was a tremendous, overstuffed Wimbledon, and ESPN’s all-out effort for two weeks did it justice. That’s saying something" (TENNIS.com, 7/9).


BIG HIT IN CANADA
: TSN averaged 515,000 viewers for the Federer-Murray match, marking the most-viewed Wimbledon final on Canadian TV. That figure is up 16% compared to the previous record of 445,000 viewers set during the Federer-Nadal final in '08. Full coverage of Wimbledon on TSN and TSN2 this year was up 16% compared to last year (TSN).
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Related Topics:

Media, Wimbledon, ESPN, NBC

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