rainn.png
Thursday February 2nd, 2023 8:29PM

Serena Williams' goodbye to U.S. Open a ratings boon to ESPN

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

NEW YORK (AP) — Serena Williams' long goodbye to the U.S. Open proved a boon to ESPN.

Facing down the possibility of a first-round knockout, Williams instead gave the sports network four nights of prime-time programming last week, with her eventual loss to Ajla Tomljanovic reaching the largest audience of any tennis match in ESPN's 43-year history.

ESPN happily adjusted on the fly, asking Open officials to move Williams' doubles match with her sister Venus to Thursday evening, and moving a college football game off its main network on Friday to make room for the match with Tomljanovic.

That Friday match reached 4.8 million viewers, peaking at 6.9 million, the Nielsen company said. It beat the previous record-holder, the 2012 Wimbledon men's final between Roger Federer and Andy Murray.

“We knew it was going to be a huge story,” said John Suchenski, ESPN's programming director, on Wednesday. “I'm not sure we knew how much it was going to play out, audience-wise. Obviously, we're thrilled by the numbers.”

Williams' first-round victory over Danka Kovinic last Monday, along with a post-match ceremony, was seen by 2.7 million people — or 289% above comparable first round coverage in 2021, Nielsen said. Wednesday's victory over Anett Kontaveit reached 3.6 million. Thursday's sister act, the first time ESPN has shown a doubles match in prime time, averaged 2.2 million.

Suchenski said he hoped for a “halo effect” that would boost the Open ratings for a Williams-less second week, but ESPN is cognizant of reality.

“The first week was the Serena Open,” tennis analyst John McEnroe said during Sunday's coverage. “Now it's the U.S. Open.”

Among broadcast networks last week, ABC led with a prime time average of 4.2 million viewers. NBC had 2.63 million, CBS had 2.56 million, Fox had 1.6 million, Univision had 1.1 million, Ion Television had 1 million and Telemundo had 860,000.

ESPN led all the cable networks with an average of 2.58 million, Fox News had 2.1 million, MSNBC had 1.36 million, HGTV had 870,000 and USA had 842,000.

The streaming debut of “Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” reached an estimated 1.8 million U.S. households last weekend, according to Samba TV. That's Amazon Prime's biggest debut of the year, the research company said.

ABC's “World News Tonight” won the evening news ratings race with 7.2 million viewers last week, Nielsen said. NBC's “Nightly News” had 6 million and the “CBS Evening News” had 4.1 million.

For the week of Aug. 29-Sept. 4, the 20 most-watched programs in prime time, their networks and viewerships:

1. College Football: Notre Dame at Ohio State, ABC, 10.53 million.

2. College Football: Florida St. at LSU, ABC, 7.55 million.

3. “America's Got Talent” (Tuesday), NBC, 6.36 million.

4. “America's Got Talent” (Wednesday), NBC, 5.48 million.

5. “60 Minutes,” CBS, 5.12 million.

6. U.S. Open Tennis (Friday), ESPN, 4.56 million.

7. “Password,” NBC, 3.92 million.

8. “Big Brother” (Wednesday), CBS, 3.8 million.

9. “FBI,” CBS, 3.7 million.

10. “Big Brother” (Thursday), CBS, 3.68 million.

11. College Football: Penn State at Purdue, Fox, 3.51 million.

12. “Tucker Carlson Tonight” (Monday), Fox News, 3.39 million.

13. “Bachelorette: Men Tell All,” ABC, 3.32 million.

14. “Press Your Luck,” ABC, 3.294 million.

15. “Tucker Carlson Tonight” (Tuesday), Fox News, 3.288 million.

16. “Big Brother” (Sunday), CBS, 3.27 million.

17. “Young Sheldon,” CBS, 3.208 million.

18. “The Neighborhood,” CBS, 3.206 million.

19. College Football: West Virginia at Pittsburgh, ESPN, 3.15 million.

20. “American Ninja Warrior,” NBC, 3.14 million.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Football, AP Online Tennis, College Sports, AP Entertainment, AP Online TV News, AP Business, AP Sports - College Football, AP Sports - Men's Tennis, AP Sports - Women's Tennis
© Copyright 2023 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
RBG's fashion collar highlights children's charity auction
A gold judicial collar made of glass beads that belonged to the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is being auctioned to benefit a charity
3:30PM ( 7 minutes ago )
Serena Williams' goodbye to U.S. Open a ratings boon to ESPN
It could have been just one night, but Serena Williams' exit from tennis turned into a boon for ESPN
3:26PM ( 11 minutes ago )
Target drops mandatory CEO retirement age, Cornell to stay
Target is dropping the mandatory retirement age for its CEO, allowing its Chief Executive Brian Cornell to stay on for three more years
3:22PM ( 15 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Bills TE Knox honors late brother after signing 4-year deal
The joy tight end Dawson Knox experienced in signing a four-year, $53.6 million contract extension with the Buffalo Bills was undercut by the recent death of his younger brother
2:06PM ( 1 hour ago )
Tuchel fired by Chelsea in ruthless call by US ownership
Thomas Tuchel has been fired by Chelsea only one month into the season
1:58PM ( 1 hour ago )
Sabalenka tops Pliskova, returns to semis | US Open updates
Aryna Sabalenka reached the U.S. Open semifinals for the second straight year by beating Karolina Pliskova 6-1, 7-6 (4)
1:49PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Sports
AP Top 25 Reality Check: Should Georgia be No. 1?
Florida entered the AP Top 25 with a bullet, landing at No. 12 after beating Utah
10:56AM ( 4 hours ago )
SEC teams get more chances for September statements
The Southeastern Conference was perhaps one blocked kick away from perfection on opening weekend, with a few impressive nonconference wins and some no-brainers
9:21AM ( 6 hours ago )
NFL features record-tying 10 new head coaches
There will be a new look on the sideline in Week 1 of the NFL season with a record-tying 10 new head coaches across the league
1:34AM ( 14 hours ago )
AP Online Football
Khachanov stops Kyrgios in 5 sets; faces Ruud in semifinals
Karen Khachanov has advanced to the first Grand Slam semifinal of his career by edging Nick Kyrgios 7-5, 4-6, 7-5, 6-7 (3), 6-4 at the U.S. Open
2:01AM ( 13 hours ago )
Appreciation: Sue Bird gives basketball lasting assist
Sue Bird just knows how to win
1:32AM ( 14 hours ago )
Garcia, 28, tops Gauff, 18, at US Open for 1st Slam semi
Caroline Garcia has beaten 18-year-old American Coco Gauff 6-3, 6-4 at the U.S. Open to reach her first Grand Slam semifinal at age 28
1:13AM ( 14 hours ago )
AP Online Tennis
No 4 Clemson overcomes sluggish start, beats Ga Tech 41-10
DJ Uiagalelei threw for one touchdown and ran for another, overcoming a sluggish start in the season opener to lead No. 4 Clemson to a 41-10 victory over Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets kept it closer than expected much of the way
2:32AM ( 1 day ago )
No. 3 Georgia shows deep offense ready to play new lead role
Third-ranked Georgia made a statement that its offense is ready to take the lead
3:58PM ( 1 day ago )
Harbaugh hopes players get a revenue share from 12-team CFP
Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh hopes players get a cut of the revenue generated by an expanded College Football Playoff
1:40PM ( 2 days ago )
College Sports
Toronto fest roars back to life with Spielberg, 'Knives Out'
When the 47th Toronto International Film Festival unfolds beginning Thursday, it will follow two editions that were much diminished by the pandemic
1:20PM ( 2 hours ago )
Judge: Music writer need not testify at R. Kelly trial
A judge says a music writer who spent decades raising awareness about sexual misconduct allegations against R. Kelly won’t be required to testify at the singer’s federal trial on child pornography and trial-fixing charges
1:03PM ( 2 hours ago )
Lainey Wilson leads CMA Awards nominations in her 1st year
Louisiana-native Lainey Wilson is having a breakout year as she tops the Country Music Association nominations in her first year as a nominee, earning nods in six categories
12:22PM ( 3 hours ago )
AP Entertainment
Gulf Arab nations ask Netflix to remove 'offensive' videos
Gulf Arab countries have asked Netflix to remove “offensive content” on the streaming service, apparently targeting programs that show people who are gay and lesbian
10:49PM ( 16 hours ago )
Meghan addresses youth summit on UK visit with Prince Harry
Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, has made her first speech in Britain since she and Prince Harry quit as working royals two years ago
9:27PM ( 1 day ago )
Lee You-Mi of 'Squid Game' among creative arts Emmy winners
Lee You-mi of “Squid Game” along with Colman Domingo, Laurie Metcalf and Nathan Lane were best guest actor winners at Sunday’s creative arts Emmy Awards
12:37AM ( 2 days ago )
AP Online TV News
ALS drug gets rare second review at high-stakes FDA meeting
The Food and Drug Administration is holding an unusual second meeting to review a closely watched drug for the illness known as Lou Gehrig’s disease
1:33PM ( 2 hours ago )
UPS hiring for the holiday rush holds steady above 100,000
UPS plans to hire more than 100,000 workers to help handle the holiday rush this season, about inline with the previous two years
1:32PM ( 2 hours ago )
Putin and Xi plan to meet again, as relations with West fray
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping are expected to meet next week in Uzbekistan for talks that could signal warming relations between two powers that are increasingly facing off against the West
1:20PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Business
Richardson shines, Burney seals Florida's win vs No. 7 Utah
Anthony Richardson ran for three scores in his second career start, including a 2-yard scamper with 1:25 remaining, and Florida upset seventh-ranked Utah 29-26 to get the Billy Napier era off to a rousing start
11:39PM ( 3 days ago )
Young gets 6 TDs, No. 1 Alabama routs Utah State 55-0
Reigning Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young passed for five first-half touchdowns and even ran for 100 yards and a score in No. 1 Alabama’s 55-0 opening victory over Utah State
11:04PM ( 3 days ago )
Richardson, Burney help Florida upset No. 7 Utah in Swamp
Anthony Richardson ran for three scores in his second career start, including a 2-yard scamper with 1:25 remaining, and Florida upset seventh-ranked Utah 29-26 to get the Billy Napier era off to a rousing start
10:48PM ( 3 days ago )
AP Sports - College Football
Jabeur 1st African women to reach semis | US Open updates
Fifth-seeded Ons Jabeur is headed to the U.S. Open semifinal
5:15PM ( 22 hours ago )
Ruud 1st Norwegian to reach Open semis | US Open updates
Casper Ruud is the first Norwegian to make a U.S. Open semifinal
3:03PM ( 1 day ago )
Berrettini-Ruud on court; Coco Gauff later | US Open updates
Matteo Berrettini and Casper Ruud are in action in the first men’s quarterfinal at the U.S. Open
1:08PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Sports - Men's Tennis
Kvitova-Pegula back after 45-minute delay | US Open updates
Play has resumed between two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova and No. 8 seed Jessica Pegula at the U.S. Open after a rain delay of 45 minutes while they waited for the retractable roof at Arthur Ashe Stadium to close and the soaked court to be dried
1:19PM ( 2 days ago )
Rain interrupts play at Flushing Meadows | US Open updates
Rain is delaying play in all matches at the U.S. Open — even in the two arenas with retractable roofs, Arthur Ashe Stadium and Louis Armstrong Stadium
12:50PM ( 2 days ago )
Nadal, Swiatek try to reach quarterfinals | US Open updates
Play has started on Day 8 at the U.S. Open, with No. 7 seed Cam Norrie facing No. 9 Andrey Rublev in Louis Armstrong Stadium for a quarterfinal berth
11:26AM ( 2 days ago )
AP Sports - Women's Tennis
RBG's fashion collar highlights children's charity auction
A gold judicial collar made of glass beads that belonged to the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is being auctioned to benefit a charity
3:30PM ( 7 minutes ago )
Target drops mandatory CEO retirement age, Cornell to stay
Target is dropping the mandatory retirement age for its CEO, allowing its Chief Executive Brian Cornell to stay on for three more years
3:22PM ( 15 minutes ago )
Apple maintains prices on new iPhones despite inflation
Apple revealed its next line-up of iPhones will boast better cameras, faster processors, and a longer lasting battery at the same prices as last year’s model, despite the mounting pressures of inflation that has driven up the cost of other everyday items
3:18PM ( 20 minutes ago )
Obamas return to White House: Official portraits unveiled
Former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama have unveiled their official White House portraits
2:59PM ( 38 minutes ago )
Judge strikes down 1931 Michigan law criminalizing abortion
A judge has struck down Michigan’s 1931 anti-abortion law, months after suspending it last spring
2:52PM ( 45 minutes ago )