SBJ/June 18 - 24, 2001/This Weeks Issue

Women's final TV ratings up 43%, despite tape delay; men in slump

The Jennifer Capriati comeback story provided a ratings boost for NBC's telecast of the French Open women's final, even though the network tape-delayed the epic match by five hours.

Capriati's marathon victory, in which she won the final set 12-10, scored a 3.3 rating in major markets June 9, up 43 percent from last year. NBC said that because of children's programming demands, it cannot show the match live on Saturday morning.

The men's final was shown live the following morning. Gustavo Kuerten's successful defense of his French Open crown fetched only a weak 2.0 rating, down 13 percent from the previous year.

"When you don't have [Andre] Agassi and [Pete] Sampras and some of those names, it loses some of the luster," said Harold Hecht, a free-lance producer who worked on NBC's telecast. "But Capriati has infused new life into tennis, and is going to make Wimbledon and the U.S. Open that much more exciting."

The higher women's rating continues a pattern of the women's final frequently topping the men's final.

French Open weekday telecasts scored gains on USA Network. The final number rose 40 percent to 0.7 from 0.5.

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NBC, USA Network

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