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Sports stars spark Sunday’s ratings

Wimbledon, golf competitions score big

The biggest names in tennis and golf helped deliver stellar ratings Sunday as auds wound down from the holiday weekend by taking in some nail-biter sports action.

NBC Sports garnered a 4.2 overnight household rating/12 share for its coverage of the Wimbledon men’s tennis final between Roger Federer and Andy Roddick.

The epic five-set match — the longest in Grand Slam final history in terms of games — saw Federer capture his record 15th Grand Slam title. Action started at 9 a.m. ET and took four hours, 16 minutes to complete, with Nielsens for the 1-1:30 p.m. ET climax portion ascending to a 6.6/17.

The 4.2/12 average is down slightly from last year’s Rafael Nadal-Federer match (4.6/12), but it is nonetheless the second best for the tourney’s championship round in nine years.

The top local market scores came from West Palm Beach, Fla., (8.1 overnight household rating) and New York (6.0).

In the U.K., where action extended into the evening, the match averaged a hefty 7.5 million viewers on BBC1, and its 50 share is the biggest for the men’s Wimbledon final in eight years. In the concluding 15 minutes, the pubcaster pulled in 11.1 million viewers and a 56 share of the aud.

Ratings were likely boosted by the strong showing in the tournament by rising Brit tennis star Andy Murray, who fell to Roddick in a semifinal on Friday.

Back in the States later Sunday afternoon on CBS, Tiger Woods’ rally to capture the AT&T National scored an impressive 4.6 rating/11 share in the overnights, peaking with a 6.3/14 in the final half-hour of 6 to 6:30 p.m. ET. Woods closed with pars on the final two holes to edge Hunter Mahan by a single stroke.

The 4.6/11 is the highest overnight score for a non-major golf tournament on CBS in nearly 18 months and is three times the delivery for last year’s tournament (1.5/3) — when main attraction Woods was sidelined by a knee injury.

Meanwhile, there certainly weren’t any highlights in primetime ratings Sunday, where only Fox — with its repeat animated comedies — commanded as much as 5% of the young-adult audience. CBS’ “60 Minutes” was the night’s most-watched program overall, drawing a little over 8 million viewers.

Sunday should pick up this week when “Big Brother” returns to CBS and the HBO lineup of “True Blood,” “Hung” and “Entourage” airs for the first time. The pay cabler opted to air an encore of “Hung” rather than ask auds to watch its second episode during the holiday weekend.

(Steve Clarke in London contributed to this report.)

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