Ratings Roundup: Postponed US Open Men’s Final Dips 36%

Sunday’s US Open men’s final was washed into Monday evening by heavy rain, and the telecast’s ratings took a huge hit as a result. Rafael Nadal’s four-set win over Novak Djokovic averaged 2.17 million viewers between CBS and ESPN2, down 36% from the 3.39 million who watched last year’s five-set final between Roger Federer and Juan Martin del Potro on CBS.

The match was pushed from Sunday to Monday for the third straight year because of rain. Then, it was delayed two hours in the second set because of more bad weather, forcing the broadcast to move to ESPN2.

NFL ratings continued where they left off last season, as the league logged its most-watched kickoff weekend in 23 years, with an average of 19.5 million viewers per telecast.

NBC’s Sunday Night Football opener featuring Cowboys-Redskins was the most-watched Week 1 Sunday/Monday primetime game in 14 years and was the most-watched Sunday Night Football game ever. The Redskins’ 13-7 victory over the Cowboys on Sunday Night Football was seen by an average of 25.3 million viewers, the most for any Week 1 Sunday/Monday primetime game since Sept. 2, 1996, (Cowboys-Bears, 27.7 million on ABC) and the most ever for Sunday Night Football since the NFL’s premier primetime package returned to NBC in 2006.

Sunday’s national game on Fox, mainly Green Bay Packers-Philadelphia Eagles, was the most-watched Week 1 Sunday game ever, with 28 million viewers. Fox earned its highest rating for the first weekend of the season since the network started televising the NFL in 1994. Green Bay’s 27-20 win drew a 16.5 rating and 32 share, up 11% from last year.

ESPN notched its highest-rated and most-viewed Monday Night Football opening night ever with a doubleheader this week.  The Baltimore Ravens’ 10-9 win over the New York Jets logged a 10.9 cable rating, 10.85 million households, and 14.97 million viewers on average, the best of ESPN’s 10 MNF opening-night games in the network’s fifth year with the franchise. The Kansas City Chiefs’ 21-14 win over the San Diego Chargers, garnered an 8.8 rating with an average of 8.8 million households watching and 11.9 million viewers. The Ravens-Jets game was the second-largest audience on cable in 2010 (behind only last year’s MNF finale), and the Chiefs-Chargers game was the third-largest household audience for any show on cable this year.

CBS also saw a major increase, logging its highest Week 1 rating in 10 years. Sunday’s NFL game (featuring Bengals-Patriots) drew a 9.7 final rating and 16.175 million viewers on CBS, up 37% and 42%, respectively, in viewership from last year (Jets-Texans: 7.1, 11.374 million) and up 3% and 8%, respectively, from 2008 (Jets-Dolphins: 9.4, 14.995 million). The 9.7 rating is the highest for a Week 1 NFL telecast on CBS since 2000, when the network aired Jets-Packers (9.9). That was the last year CBS aired a Week 1 doubleheader.

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