Primetime Telecast Helps U.S. Open See Spike In Overnight Ratings
The U.S. Open's final round delivered a 6.6 overnight rating for NBC's six-and-a-half hours of coverage on Sunday (4-10:30pm ET). That mark is up 29% from last year, when the event was on the east coast and not in primetime. It is down 4% from two years ago, the last time the event was held on the west coast and in primetime (6.9). Unlike last night, the event two years ago did not compete head-to-head with the NBA playoffs. Combined, the Saturday and Sunday overnight was a 6.1, which is the event's highest weekend overnight since '08 (6.8) (John Ourand, THE DAILY). USA TODAY’s Michael Hiestand writes the U.S. Open likely “won’t prove much of a ratings threat to the NBA action.” There were “just a handful of big names in contention late, and even the galleries came across on TV as being subdued.” Also, NBC’s Johnny Miller was “his usual idiosyncratic self throughout the weekend” (USA TODAY, 6/18).
TONING IT DOWN: GOLFWEEK’s Martin Kaufmann wrote ESPN’s Chris Berman “seems to have heard some of the criticism” Kaufmann has given him in the past. On the “10-point Nails-on-a-Chalkboard Meter, he now registers an 8.5, down from about an 11 in past years.” He has “lightened up on the tedious nicknames and pop-culture references,” and he also “seems to have lightened up on the cough syrup; his voice has more gravel in it than a quarry.” Berman’s presence “speaks poorly of ESPN’s management, which inflicts him on the golfing populace each June.” It is “nothing short of mismanagement for the ESPN brass to give Berman a larger role” than Mike Tirico and Terry Gannon. Meanwhile, Kaufmann wrote of Andy North, “I have no idea how he has held that prime ESPN gig for so many years.” The man “seems determined not to say anything remotely interesting” (GOLFWEEK.com, 6/17).
LESS EMPHASIS ON WOODS: In Tampa, Tom Jones writes NBC’s coverage “deserves major praise for how it handled itself Sunday night.” Instead of “pounding us with [Tiger] Woods coverage, NBC treated Woods like any other golfer out of contention, showing him only occasionally.” NBC “brings in Golf World senior writer Tim Rosaforte maybe two times a broadcast.” That is “seven times too few.” Jones: “Seriously, he is one of the most interesting golf voices on television and NBC totally underutilizes him” (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 6/18). The GLOBE & MAIL’s Bruce Dowbiggin writes under the header, “Tiger’s Collapse At U.S. Open Makes Media Eat Its Words.” NBC, Golf Channel and ESPN analysts “proclaimed that Woods’s confidence was back as he broke into the lead” last Friday. But as his “stumble Saturday turned into a collapse Sunday, the tone changed.” When Woods and Phil Mickelson fell off the lead, Miller said, “Looks like Phil and Tiger are turning back the clock … to when they were 5.” Considering Woods’ “erratic play at this time, lauding Woods is certainly the riskiest thing you can do for your reputation” (GLOBE & MAIL, 6/18). SCOREGolf Magazine's Bob Weeks wrote on his Twitter feed, "This may be the longest NBC has ever gone without showing Tiger Woods in a US Open. Even the year he missed the cut" (TWITTER.com, 6/17). PTI Exec Producer Erik Rydholm tweeted, "What does it say about the demographic that watches golf that NBC followed the US Open with Betty White's 'Off Their Rockers!?'" (TWITTER.com, 6/17).
THAT AWKWARD MOMENT WHEN... After winning the U.S. Open on Sunday, golfer Webb Simpson was interviewed by NBC’s Bob Costa and in the middle of the interview a fan walked in front of the camera and started making bird calls before being dragged away. Costas noted, “Always something to spice matters up.” Simpson added, “Enjoy the jail cell, pal” (“U.S. Open,” NBC, 6/17). Awful Announcing tweeted, "Thank God NBC stayed with the US Open trophy presentation, because that was the most awkward fan intrusion ever" (TWITTER.com, 6/17).
SEEING A SPIKE: The USGA announced that overall fan visits to usopen.com during the week of the championship increased by 79% over the week of the ’11 championship. The USGA recorded a 44% increase in iPhone app downloads, and the mobile website charted a 375% increase in overall visits compared to '11 (USGA).