Boosted by primetime exposure, third and final round coverage of the U.S. Open increased substantially compared to last year.
Final round coverage of the 2012 U.S. Open drew a 6.0 final rating and 9.633 million viewers on NBC Sunday evening, up a third in ratings and 31% in viewership from last year (4.5, 7.369M), and up 3% and 4%, respectively, from 2010 — the last time final round coverage stretched into primetime (5.8, 9.266M).
The final round was the highest rated and most-viewed since 2008 (7.5, 12.080M), and the second-most viewed of the past decade.
The strong numbers came despite over two hours of competition from the NBA Finals (8.8, 15.452M). Previous primetime telecasts avoided direct competition with the NBA. From 8-10:30 PM ET, when the two events aired head-to-head, the U.S. Open averaged approximately a 6.8 rating. Half-hour ratings during that window ranged from 6.2 to 7.5.
The U.S. Open ranked as the week’s sixth-most viewed primetime program on broadcast, trailing the first three games of the NBA Finals, ‘America’s Got Talent’ on NBC (6.5, 11.175M), and ABC’s ‘Megastunts’ on Friday night (6.2, 10.260M).
On Saturday, third round coverage drew a 5.0 final rating and 7.6 million viewers — up 61% in ratings and 65% in viewership from last year (3.1, 4.574M), and up 35% in both measures compared to 2010 (3.7, 5.620M).
Third round coverage was the highest rated and most-viewed since 2002 (6.0, 8.234M), even topping 2008 (4.6, 6.645M) — the first year the event aired in primetime, and the last year Tiger Woods won.
Overall, third and final round coverage averaged a 5.5 rating and 8.6 million viewers, up 41% in ratings and 43% in viewership from last year (3.9, 6.0M), and the highest weekend average since 2008 (6.0, 9.3M).
Final ratings and viewership for first and second round coverage were not immediately available.
(Third/final round numbers from NBC Sports Group press release, NBC Sports; weekly rankings from Media Life Magazine)