U.S. Championships draw high ratings for NBC
Figure skating is successful in new primetime slot
|NBC's weekend primetime coverage of Johnny Weir (left) and Evan Lysacek (right) fighting for gold garnered a 3.5 overnight rating. (Paul Harvath)|
Outside of Tiger Woods' final-round romp in the Buick Invitational at Torrey Pines, NBC's two primetime skating broadcasts -- Saturday (3.8/6) and Sunday (3.5/5) -- were the two highest-rated sporting events of the weekend, even besting ABC's Sunday NBA doubleheader that featured the league's two marquee stars, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James. The late-afternoon (3:30-6:45 p.m. ET) Cavaliers-Lakers game drew an overnight rating of 3.4/7. The NBA early game, featuring the Eastern Conference-leading Celtics against Orlando, posted an overnight rating of 2.3/5.
Saturday night's primetime coverage of the U.S. Championships (8-11 p.m. ET/PT) was 65 percent higher than last year's coverage of the ladies free skate on ABC (2.3/5; 4-6 p.m. ET). Fourteen-year-old Mirai Nagasu won the gold medal last weekend in the ladies free skate, garnering a 3.8 overnight rating and a six share.
Additionally, NBC's coverage of the pairs free skate (4-6 p.m. ET) showed a gain of more than 300 percent over ESPN's coverage of the pairs free skate last year (ESPN received a national rating of 0.49 for their coverage of pairs last year in a telecast that started at 11:30 p.m. ET).
This is the first year of a multi-year agreement between NBC Sports and U.S. Figure Skating, after 43 years on ABC/ESPN. The seven hours were the most network coverage of this event since 1998, and the five hours of network primetime coverage were the most in a decade.
Viewership totals will be available when the national ratings are released Tuesday.