Airing its final U.S. Open for the foreseeable future, NBC Sports attracted record low numbers last weekend.
Final round coverage of the U.S. Open earned a mere 3.0 final rating and 4.6 million viewers on NBC last Sunday, down 44% in ratings and 45% in viewership from last year (5.4, 8.4M), and down 50% and 52%, respectively, from coverage that ended in primetime in 2012 (6.0, 9.6M).
The 3.0 rating is the lowest ever for the final round of the U.S. Open, falling well below the previous mark of 4.5 set in 1988 and 2011. It should be pointed out that 2011 was the last year Tiger Woods missed the tournament.
Sunday’s coverage also ranks as the lowest rated and least-viewed final round of any major on broadcast TV since the 2008 PGA Championship, which aired opposite the Olympic Games (2.8, 4.0M). Including cablecasts, this year’s final round ranks as the lowest rated for any major since the 2011 British Open on ESPN (2.3).
Competition from the World Cup likely had some impact. The concurrent France/Honduras match earned a 2.7 rating and 4.6 million viewers on ABC alone (does not factor in the Univision audience).
On Saturday, third round coverage of the U.S. Open had a 2.3 and 3.2 million — down 38% in ratings and 41% in viewership from last year (3.7, 5.4M) and down 54% and 58%, respectively, from coverage that ended in primetime in 2012 (5.0, 7.6M). The 2.3 rating is easily the lowest for any weekend round of the U.S. Open since at least 1981.
The record-low numbers for the U.S. Open follow the historic lows to which The Masters plunged earlier this year. Final round coverage of that tournament tied the lowest rating since 1980, and weekend coverage on CBS averaged the lowest mark since 1957.
(Weekend numbers from Sports Business Daily)