ESPN earned a 4.7 overnight Nielsen rating for last night's State Farm Home Run Derby, down slightly from a 4.8 overnight for the event last year. K.C. led all markets with a 15.1 local rating, marking the second best rating for an All-Star Game host city since ’02. The event also delivered the best rating ever in K.C. for an MLB telecast on ESPN. Rounding out the top markets for the telecast last night were Pittsburgh (9.9), Detroit (8.9), St. Louis (8.4) and N.Y. (6.7). The rating in N.Y. saw a big jump from last year (up 10%), despite the early exit of Yankees 2B Robinson Cano. With Dodgers CF Matt Kemp serving as captain of the NL squad, the telecast earned a 4.6 local rating in L.A., up 48% from last year (Austin Karp, THE DAILY).
BERMAN REAX: ESPN's Chris Berman once again called of the Home Run Derby last night, which elicited responses on Twitter. ESPN Radio 1530 Cincinnait's Mo Egger wrote, “Complaining about Chris Berman calling the Home Run Derby is like complaining about the heat in July.” Awful Announcing commented, “I didn't think it could get worse than Chris Berman calling the #HRDerby, but Chris Berman warming up the crowd did just that.” The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review’s Josh Yohe wrote, “My child is 23 hours old and Chris Berman's yelling has already made him cry.” CBS' "Late Show" head writer Eric Stangel wrote, “Forget Chris Berman- Every year, Will Ferrell should call the #HRDerby as Harry Caray.”
MLB tonight will continue its aggressive All-Star Week social media efforts by allowing players to tweet and post on Facebook during the All-Star Game once they are removed from the contest. The first-time effort represents a significant departure from regular season and playoff rules in which players may not be on social media from 30 minutes before a game until after its conclusion. A social media station has been set up behind one of the Kauffman Stadium dugouts. The initiative arrives after months of planning between MLB, MLBAM, the MLBPA, Fox Sports and other involved parties. It also represents a delicate balancing act between the All-Star Game's status as an exhibition contest and one that determines home field advantage in the World Series. "We need to be very sensitive, and preserve the integrity of the game," said MLB Exec VP/Business Tim Brosnan. "So we'll continue to walk before we run and be very thoughtful and deliberate." Bluefin Labs, helping MLB with the in-event social media efforts both last night and tonight, said yesterday's State Farm Home Run Derby generated more than 633,000 social media comments. The social media volume is more than twice what was generated during last year's Derby in Phoenix.
UNDER THE RADAR EXPERIMENT: MLBAM on Sunday quietly conducted a social media experiment in which it live streamed the MLB Futures Game on Twitter. The event, believed to the first major pro sports event streamed live on Twitter, involved a tweet from @MLB that stayed at the top of followers' pages with a video player showing a live stream of the game. MLBAM reconfigured its existing video player to make it workable within Twitter. The effort generated about 10,000 users, and MLBAM is now actively exploring further similar experiments.
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 ’95 Australian Open Andre Agassi-Pete Sampras men’s final and ’02 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
Roger Federer-Andy Murray
Novak Djokovic-Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal-Tomas Berdych
Roger Federer-Andy Roddick
Rafael Nadal-Roger Federer
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
Serena Williams-Agnieszka Radwanska
Petra Kvitova-Maria Sharapova
Serena Williams-Vera Zvonareva
Serena Williams-Venus Williams
Venus Williams-Serena Williams
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).
NASCAR is “bulking up" its Charlotte operations by spending $2M to "build out space in its uptown office tower that will house a newly created team to run its website and mobile applications,” according to Erik Spanberg of the CHARLOTE BUSINESS JOURNAL. The expansion is the result of NASCAR’s “acquisition of the rights to its website.” All of the content of the revamped site, “expected to launch in January, from news stories and analysis to video clips, will come from NASCAR and an operating staff now being assembled.” Up to 50 jobs will be added "in the next few months,” with about 14 of the 70 staffers "already in place.” All but “a handful will call Charlotte home, with six to eight housed at NASCAR’s Florida headquarters.” Boston-based SapientNitro began consulting for NASCAR “late last year but took on the formal role of designing the new site in June” (CHARLOTTE BUSINESS JOURNAL, 7/6 issue).
ESPN moved back up to second place from third in the monthly comScore reach rankings of top U.S. sports online destinations, its first time in that spot in three months as it posted 33.2 million unique visitors during June. Yahoo Sports held its customary spot at the top of the list with 42.1 million unique visitors. The rest of the list also remained roughly the same in June, as in recent months. ESPN retained its usual large lead in consumption with an average of 82.9 minutes per visitor during the month.
UNIQUE VISITORS (000)
FoxSports.com om MSN
USA Today Sports Media Group*
Turner Sports Digital**
Sports Illustrated sites
Sporting News on AOL
NFL Internet Group
NOTES: All numbers do not include wireless traffic. * = Sites include 81 local Gannett newspaper sites, 23 Gannett-owned broadcast TV station sites, HighSchoolSports.net, BNQT Media Group. ** = Sites includes NBA.com, PGATour.com, PGA.com, NCAA.com and WNBA.com. *** = Includes NHL.com.