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Volume 25 No. 107
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Audience Analysis: ESPN Sees U.S. Open Boost; "Hard Knocks" Rises

Naomi Osaka’s win over Serena Williams at the U.S. Open on Saturday afternoon averaged 3.1 million viewers, marking ESPN’s best women’s championship match since it began airing the final at the U.S. Open in ’15. CBS in its last year with the event drew 4.5 million viewers for Williams’ win over Caroline Wozniacki. Meanwhile, ESPN on Sunday afternoon against the NFL Week 1 national window drew 2.07 million viewers for Novak Djokovic’s straight sets win over Juan Martin del Potro, which is the best for the event since ESPN first aired the U.S. Open final in ’15 (Djokovic-Roger Federer, 3.15 million viewers in primetime after a three-hour delay). For the entire U.S. Open, ESPN had its best audience since its first year with the whole tourney in '15. The net averaged 1.04 million viewers for all linear TV matches, up 9% from 949,000 viewers last year. The '15 event averaged 1.27 million viewers. West Palm Beach was the top market for ESPN (1.9 local rating), followed by DC (1.6) and Richmond (1.4).

HARD KNOCK LIFE: HBO averaged 629,000 viewers for the five premiere episodes of "Hard Knocks" featuring the Browns this summer. That is the show's best figure since 874,000 viewers when the Texans were featured in '15. Last year, the Buccaneers-focused show averaged 578,000 viewers, while in '16, the Rams averaged 580,000.

The chart below lists final audience figures from select recent sports telecasts.

TELECAST
DATE
NET
TIME (ET)
RATING
VIEWERS
(000)
NFL: Cowboys-Panthers (80%)
9/9
Fox
4:15-7:40pm
13.1
23,303
"SNF": Bears-Packers
9/9
NBC
8:23-11:31pm
12.5
22,117
NFL Kickoff: Falcons-Eagles
9/6
NBC
9:00pm-12:04am
11.3
19,028
NFL: (single)
9/9
CBS
1:00-4:05pm
9.7
17,082
NFL: (regional)
9/9
Fox
1:00-4:15pm
7.4
12,538
"Football Night in America"
9/9
NBC
7:30-8:14pm
4.3
7,369
College football: Virginia Tech-Florida State
9/3
ESPN
7:58-11:09pm
3.4
5,576
"Fox NFL Sunday"
9/9
Fox
12:00-1:00pm
3.2
4,835
College football: Clemson-Texas A&M
9/8
ESPN
7:00-10:41pm
2.6
4,486
"The NFL Today"
9/9
CBS
12:00-1:00pm
2.4
3,758
College football: Georgia-South Carolina
9/8
CBS
3:30-6:00pm
2.3
3,747
College football: Colorado-Nebraska
9/8
ABC
3:33-7:24pm
2.1
3,394
College football: Penn State-Pitt
9/8
ABC
8:07-11:46pm
2.0
3,286
U.S. Open: Women's Final:
Naomi Osaka-Serena Williams
9/8
ESPN
4:00-6:53pm
1.9
3,101
College football: (regional)
9/8
ABC
12:01-3:42pm
1.7
2,539
College football: Ball State-Notre Dame
9/8
NBC
3:30-7:00pm
1.6
2,453
PGA Tour: BMW Championship: Third Round
9/8
NBC
12:00-3:30pm
1.7
2,433
College football: Michigan State-Arizona State
9/8
ESPN
10:45pm-2:20am
1.5
2,297
College football: USC-Stanford
9/8
Fox
8:45-11:59pm
1.4
2,290
U.S. Open: Men's Final:
Novak Djokovic-Juan Martin del Potro
9/9
ESPN
4:02-8:00pm
1.3
2,065
PBR: PFIWestern.com Invitational
9/9
CBS
5:00-6:00pm
1.3
2,043
College football: Iowa State-Iowa
9/8
Fox
3:30-7:00pm
1.2
2,017
Soccer friendly: Mexico-Uruguay
9/7
Univision
10:03pm-12:07am
0.9
1,855
College football: Mississippi State-Kansas State
9/8
ESPN
12:01-3:22pm
1.1
1,800
U.S. Open: Men's/Women's quarterfinals
9/4
ESPN
7:00pm-2:13am
n/a
1,680
"College GameDay"
9/8
ESPN
9:00am-12:01pm
n/a
1,667
College football: Arkansas State-Alabama
9/8
ESPN2
3:41-7:07pm
1.0
1,663
MLB: Astros-Red Sox
9/9
ESPN
8:00-11:48pm
1.0
1,480
Soccer friendly: Brazil-U.S.
9/7
Univision
7:30-10:03pm
0.7
1,389
College football: UCLA-Oklahoma
9/8
Fox
12:00-3:30pm
1.8
1,182
"Fox NFL Kickoff"
9/9
Fox
11:00am-12:00pm
0.8
1,168
Track & Field: New Balance 5th Avenue Mile
9/9
NBC
12:00-1:00pm
0.5
693
WNBA Finals: Mystics-Storm: Game 2
9/9
ABC
3:30-6:00pm
0.4
546
WSL: Surf Ranch Pro (taped)
9/8
CBS
2:00-3:00pm
0.4
527
"World of X Games"
9/9
ABC
2:30-3:30pm
0.3
373

NOTE: Final round of BMW Championship was rained out on NBC on Sunday. Aired on Golf Channel on Monday.

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Audience Analysis