U.S. Open ratings slip

Fighting Irish give Peacock a boost

Ratings for the U.S. Open on CBS slipped well below last year’s marks, but still logged the tennis tourney’s second-best overnights since 1995.

According to Nielsen, Sunday’s men’s final showed the biggest ratings decline, with the Marat Safin-Pete Sampras match (an easy three-set victory for the upstart Russian) averaging a 5.1/10 in overnights, off 28% from last year (7.1/14). A CBS spokesman pointed out that last year’s final, featuring Andre Agassi and Todd Martin, went to five sets and benefited from more than an hour of primetime coverage.

This year’s women’s final between Venus Williams and Lindsay Davenport (which included a one-hour rain delay) averaged a 6.1/13 on Saturday, down 15% from last year’s 7.2/17 for Serena Williams vs. Martina Hingis match.

Overall, this year’s U.S. Open averaged a 2.8/8 in overnights, off 20% from a year ago when the tourney scored a 3.5/10. Cabler USA averaged a 1.1 rating for its U.S. Open coverage, even with a year ago.

Gripping gridcasts

Elsewhere in sports action, Saturday’s nailbiter college football game between No. 1 Nebraska and Notre Dame delivered NBC’s best ratings for a Fighting Irish telecast in two years.

According to Nielsen overnights, Nebraska’s 27-24 overtime victory rated a 5.0/12, up 43% from last year’s comparable Notre Dame-Michigan State matchup (3.5/9) and the Peacock’s biggest Notre Dame rating since a September 1998 game against Michigan (5.9/15).

The 5.0/12 tops the 4.9/9 that ABC averaged in primetime Saturday for its two regional games (Florida State-Georgia Tech and USC-Colorado).

Sunday’s second-week NFL ratings on both Fox and CBS were down in Nielsen overnights compared with a year ago. Fox’s doubleheader (primarily Chicago-Tampa Bay and Washington-Detroit) averaged an 11.1, off 15% from last year’s 13.1 for Week 1 (when the season started the week after Labor Day).

CBS drew a 10.5 in overnights for its single-game coverage (primarily Oakland-Indianapolis), down 13% from last year’s 12.0 for the opening weekend.

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