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Volume 10 No. 23


Andy Murray's historic Wimbledon tennis triumph "was watched by a peak audience of more than 17 million viewers" in the U.K., the biggest since modern ratings records began more than 20 years ago, according to John Plunkett of the London GUARDIAN. The Scot's straight-sets win over Novak Djokovic -- making him the first British man to win Wimbledon since Fred Perry in '36 -- averaged 12.1 million viewers across the entirety of BBC1's coverage between 1:45pm and 6pm London time on Sunday, a 72.8% share of the audience. BBC1's coverage had a five-minute peak of 17.29 million viewers beginning at 5:30pm, as Murray "celebrated his win." Murray won championship point at about 5:24pm after a final service game that stretched out for 12 "nerve-racking minutes." Over 30 minutes from 5:15pm, BBC1 averaged a 16.7 million audience "for the climax of the match" and the ensuing celebrations (GUARDIAN, 7/8).

IN GOOD COMPANY: In London, Daisy Wyatt reported Murray’s win "is narrowly the second most watched Wimbledon match of all time," after 17.3 million people watched Bjorn Borg’s five-set victory over John McEnroe in '80. However, the Murray final has become the most-watched TV moment of '13 so far, beating the "Britain’s Got Talent" final, "which saw a peak audience of 13.1 million last month" (INDEPENDENT, 7/8). In L.A., Georg Szalai reported the figures "came in below the peak ratings of around 20 million viewers for some big events" of the 2012 London Olympics (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, 7/8). Also in L.A., Diana Lodderhose reported this year’s peak ratings and average ratings exceeded '12’s Wimbledon final stats of 16.9 million peak and an 11.4 million average, which at the time "became the biggest U.K. audience for any Wimbledon final in more than 20 years" (VARIETY, 7/8).

SETTING THE SCENE: In London, Jan Moir wrote "as a golden Sunday afternoon unfolded across the whole of Britain and millions sat enrapt in front of their television sets, the question was this: dare we dream, too?" Could "we stand the babbling inanities of the BBC commentary team who yakked on about the state of the tennis balls (‘He likes a nice skinny one, without much fluff’) and where Boris Becker lived?" It is "all right for those with Centre Court seats or the fans soaking up the atmo at Murray Mount or elsewhere." For watching at home "is a kind of delirious agony -- pleasure at the tennis leavened by dismay at much of the drivel." The tennis "was not the only spectacle." There was "no sign of Pippa or Kate in the Royal Box this year but Posh Spice was there, wearing what looked like a nightie, with her mini-me Tana Ramsay, wife of Gordon" (DAILY MAIL, 7/7).

CRITIQUING THE BBC: In London, Tom Sutcliffe reported the audience "understands that BBC Sport gets a little over-excited at such moments and is prepared to forgive quite a lot.'' We are "not as easy-going when the action starts, though." And when it did, to borrow one of Andy Castle’s phrases, “suddenly things went south.” What was most striking was "how none of the BBC’s commentators allowed their inside knowledge of the game and unique personal knowledge of what it’s like to play a men’s final on centre court to get in the way of pure reflexive yelping" (INDEPENDENT, 7/7). In London, John Crace wrote on the GUARDIAN's TV&Radio blog Murray has "upped his game in the past 18 months." The BBC "could do with following suit." While Murray "played a blinder, the broadcaster would have been going home in the first week if it had any competition." It was not the technical side "that was at fault: the quality of the pictures, coverage of games on the outside courts and the behind-the-scenes access were better than ever. It was the presentation." The commentators "were generally OK -- McEnroe is better than OK -- but the presentation felt tired and outdated." Sue Barker "can't help being everyone's favourite head girl but her jolly hockeysticks enthusiasm doesn't really do the job." The BBC's "main wrong note, though, came with the jingoism and sentiment that provided the backdrop to almost every day's play." There is "nothing wrong with a bit of national pride but from the very beginning of this tournament the BBC took this to almost hysterical levels" (GUARDIAN, 7/8). Also in London, Jonathan Liew wrote "contrary to what you may have read, heard or concluded, the BBC actually had a pretty good Wimbledon." The BBC’s pundits, though, "have been decent, with the pithy and knowledgeable Lindsay Davenport deserving of special mention." Production values "have been exemplary, in particular the spine‑tingling title sequence, which takes the greatest TV theme tune of all time and sets it against a shape-shifting visual apocalypse in which Centre Court rises, tier by trembling tier, from the bowels of the earth." Then there was "the wonderful Andy Murray documentary a fortnight ago, which verged on Simon Fuller-authored hagiography at times, but was none the less entertaining for that" (TELEGRAPH, 7/8).

INVERDALE FALLOUT: In a separate article, the INDEPENDENT's Wyatt reported the BBC has received 674 complaints over presenter John Inverdale’s comments "about Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli’s appearance" (INDEPENDENT, 7/8).

Britain's "ecstatic media trumpeted the end of the 'longest yearning in British sport'" on Monday by celebrating Andy Murray's Wimbledon success on the front and back pages of newspapers and much of the rest as well, according to Alan Baldwin of REUTERS. The Sun tabloid wrote, "Finally, after 77 years, 15 PMs, three monarchs...Brit man wins Wimbo." The paper devoted the first five pages to Murray. Such "unrestrained joy was the norm." The more "up-market" London Times and London Telegraph were "throwing gravitas out of the window with page after page chronicling every detail of Murray's epic victory and back story." The Guardian wrote, "Scottish, British, who cares? Today he belongs to us all," declared another headline inside (REUTERS, 7/8).

SCANNING THE PAPERS: The BBC reported Murray's first Wimbledon title "dominates the front pages" of Monday's national newspapers in England and Scotland, while there is "also widespread coverage" in the int'l press. Headlines range from ''The History Boy'' in the Times to ''Champion'' in the Guardian. The Scotsman wrote, "For those of us growing up in the 1960s and 1970s, the thought of a Scot winning Wimbledon was not even an impossible dream," writes Stuart Bathgate. "Arrant nonsense, no sooner imagined than dismissed. That supposed nonsense is now hard fact." The Telegraph's Simon Briggs opened his report with, "It is the sentence British tennis has been waiting for ever since a wild-haired 17-year-old from Dunblane won the junior U.S. Open. Andy Murray is the Wimbledon champion." The Daily Mail Chief Sports Writer Martin Samuel summed up what the victory meant to the people of Murray's home town, Dunblane. Samuel: "Murray has long been on a mission to alter public perceptions of his home town, Dunblane, in Scotland. He wanted it to be remembered for producing Britain's finest tennis player rather than a shooting tragedy at a school that claimed many of his young friends, and was lucky not to have taken him." The Times' Neil Harman wrote, "Dear old Fred Perry would have loved to see this." The Independent's James Lawton wrote, "Of all the days he will know, and all the prizes he will win, these were the ones bathed in golden sunshine that Andy Murray will always have with him -- and for which he will always be revered." The Daily Star's Ian Murtagh wrote, "Perhaps Murray's finest achievement was in making the stony-faced Ivan Lendl break into a smile." The Sydney Morning Herald wrote "For Andy Murray and Great Britain, the wandering in the wilderness is over, the deed done" (BBC, 7/8).

TWITTER TIME: On the London GUARDIAN's News Blog, Hannah Waldram reported Murray "took to Twitter to delight fans by answering their questions" Monday. Murray responded to 10 questions over 15 minutes, "giving away details of his match routine, whether he went to bed with the Wimbledon trophy on Sunday night, and describing winning Wimbledon in one word -- relief" (GUARDIAN, 7/8).

HISTORY LESSON: The GUARDIAN also wrote on its Pass Notes blog that the Murray headlines "have ignored the fact that a Briton won a Wimbledon singles title in 1977." However, "she was a woman." Virginia Wade was the last Briton to win Wimbledon. It has been 77 years since a Briton won the men's singles final. Dorothy Round Little won the women's singles in '37. Deaf player Angela Mortimer won the championship in '61, and underdog Ann Haydon-Jones beat Billie Jean King to win again in '69 (GUARDIAN, 7/8).

German free-to-air TV channel RTL "recorded high ratings for its broadcast of the German F1 Grand Prix on Sunday afternoon," according to Manuel Weis of QUOTENMETER. The race, which started at 2pm, attracted 5.36 million viewers. The grand prix, which was won by Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel, obtained a 40.9% market share. In the target demographic 14-49, Vettel's first victory at its home race had a 34.9% share. The race highlights following the conclusion of the grand prix were watched by an average of 2.98 million viewers. In addition, German pay-TV Sky attracted 380,000 viewers to its broadcast of the German Grand Prix. The number translated into a market share of 2.9%. In the target demographic, Sky "obtained a great 3.8% share" (QUOTENMETER, 7/8).

TOUR DE FRANCE: DWDL's Alexander Krei reported pan-European broadcaster Eurosport "received satisfying ratings for its broadcast of the Tour de France's ninth stage on Sunday." An average of 390,000 viewers tuned in to watch the stage. The number equaled a 3.3% market share. In the target demographic, Eurosport obtained a 2.9% share (DWDL, 7/8).

Land Rover "has celebrated the British and Irish Lions' win" against Australia on Saturday with a one-off press ad in the Sunday Telegraph. The press ad reads, "the Lions have been fed," in text above a piece of meat in the shape of Australia, where the Lions have been on tour since June (CAMPAIGN LIVE, 7/8). ... ESPN and Zee TV have reached a sublicense deal for exclusive live coverage of the West Indies Tri-Series on ESPN3 in the U.S. The agreement -- which includes additional series from the Pakistan and Sri Lanka cricket boards -- runs through the end of the year. Featured opponents in the tests, ODIs and T20s include India, South Africa and New Zealand (ESPN). ... Kentaro has added two Paris St. Germain friendly matches to its summer sales portfolio. PSG will take on Sturm Graz at the UPC Arena in Graz, Austria on July 9. Three days later, PSG will take on Rapid Vienna at the Gerhard-Hannapi Stadium in Vienna. Kentaro will be marketing the global third-party rights for certain territories, including Europe, Asia and Latin America (Kentaro). ... The IOC has awarded its broadcast rights for the 2014 Sochi Games and 2016 Rio Games in Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan to Dentsu (Dentsu). ... BBC 5 Live presenter Colin Murray is leaving for talkSPORT a month after corporation bosses "had to apologise" when his weekly Fighting Talk show included a section on how "openly gay presenter Clare Balding could be 'turned around.'" The Northern Irishman, who started his BBC career at Radio 1, "will join the station next month to present a weekday sports show" (PA, 7/8).