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Volume 27 No. 10
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Audience Analysis: ESPN Sets Viewership Highs For U.S. Open

The combination of runs by Serena Williams and Coco Gauff on the women's side and Rafael Nadal's dramatic five-set win in the men's final helped deliver ESPN its best audience yet for the U.S. Open since it began exclusively airing the event in '15. ESPN networks for the entire tournament averaged 1.28 million viewers, up 23% from '18 (1.04 million). Bianca Andreescu's straight sets win over Williams on Saturday afternoon drew 3.22 million viewers, marking ESPN's second-best U.S. Open final on record. Only the four-set Novak Djokovic-Roger Federer final in '15 drew a larger audience. Naomi Osaka's win over Williams in the '18 final drew 3.1 million viewers. Meanwhile, Nadal's win over Daniil Medvedev on Sunday, which bled well into primetime, drew 2.75 million viewers, up from 2.07 million for Djokovic's win over Juan Martin del Potro last year. DC was the best market for coverage of the U.S. Open on ESPN networks, averaging a 2.0 local rating. N.Y. was second with a 1.9.

BOOSTING THE GPA: College football is seeing strong gains on ESPN, up 41% through Week 2. ABC, ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPNews are also seeing gains (SEC Network and ACC Network remain unrated). Meanwhile, Fox is having its best start yet for college football. The net drew 4.72 million viewers for Michigan's double OT win over Army on Saturday, giving the network another win in the 12:00pm ET window as the network has shifted its top games each weekend to that window. Overall, Fox is up 59% through Week 2 (five total games).

GOLDEN GOAL: A Mexico-U.S. men's soccer friendly drew 2.68 million viewers on Friday night on Univision and TUDN. That compares to 386,000 on FS1 for the same match. The Univision/TUDN audience marks the fourth-best men's soccer audience of '19, behind only three matches from this summer's Concacaf Gold Cup.

The chart below lists viewership figures for select recent sports telecasts.

TELECAST
DATE
NET
TIME (ET)
RAT.
VIEWERS
(000)
NFL: Giants-Cowboys (86%)
9/8
Fox
4:25-7:45pm
13.5
23,904
NFL Kickoff: Packers-Bears
9/5
NBC
8:23-11:30pm
12.9
22,242
"SNF": Steelers-Patriots
9/8
NBC
8:20-11:00pm
12.6
22,207
NFL: (singleheader)
9/8
CBS
1:05-4:05pm
9.0
15,381
NFL: (regional)
9/8
Fox
1:00-4:15pm
7.4
12,638
College football: LSU-Texas
9/7
ABC
7:37-11:36pm
5.0
8,633
College football: Texas A&M-Clemson
9/7
ABC
3:30-7:00pm
4.0
6,461
"Football Night in America"
9/8
NBC
7:30-8:14pm
3.8
6,447
College football: Notre Dame-Louisville
9/2
ESPN
7:57-11:23pm
3.3
5,599
"Fox NFL Sunday"
9/8
Fox
12:00-1:00pm
3.3
5,202
College football: Army-Michigan
9/7
Fox
12:03-3:45pm
3.1
4,715
College football: Nebraska-Colorado
9/7
Fox
3:45-7:00pm
2.0
3,446
U.S. Open: women's final:
Bianca Andreescu d. Serena Williams
9/7
ESPN
4:00-7:00pm
2.0
3,219
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series:
Big Machine Vodka 400 (Indianapolis)
9/8
NBC
2:15-6:00pm
1.9
2,969
College football: Cincinnati-Ohio State
9/7
ABC
12:00-3:30pm
1.9
2,939
U.S. Open: men's final:
Rafael Nadal d. Daniil Medvedev
9/8
ESPN
4:00-9:12pm
1.6
2,751
Soccer friendly: Mexico-U.S.
9/6
Univision
8:50-11:10pm
1.4
2,684
U.S. Open: men's/women's quarterfinals
9/3
ESPN
7:00-11:48pm
1.4
2,241
College football: Buffalo-Penn State
9/7
Fox
7:31-10:55pm
1.3
2,167
U.S. Open: women's semifinals
9/5
ESPN
7:00-11:15pm
1.2
1,866
College football: Stanford-USC
9/7
ESPN
10:42pm-1:51pm
1.2
1,857
"College GameDay"
9/7
ESPN
9:00am-12:01pm
n/a
1,849
U.S. Open: round of 16
9/2
ESPN2
7:00pm-12:55am
1.1
1,748
U.S. Open: men's/women's quarterfinals
9/4
ESPN
7:00pm-12:41am
1.1
1,720
"Sunday NFL Countdown"
9/8
ESPN
10:00am-1:00pm
n/a
1,626
"Fox NFL Kickoff"
9/8
Fox
11:00am-12:00pm
1.0
1,426
NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing:
Chevy Performance U.S. Nationals (Indianapolis)
9/2
Fox
1:00-4:45pm
0.6
950
Track & Field: IAAF Diamond League (taped)
9/7
NBC
3:00-4:30pm
0.6
809
"Big Noon Kickoff"
9/7
Fox
11:00am-12:00pm
n/a
769
Horse racing: Jockey Club Derby (Belmont)
9/7
NBC
4:30-6:00pm
0.6
768
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Audience Analysis