In its second year of coverage from The All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet
Club, Turner Network Television saw its 2001 Wimbledon Championship ratings edge
TNT averaged a 1.0 household during its 67 hours of regularly scheduled
coverage of the tennis tournament, versus a 1.1 over the comparable span during
the 2000 fortnight, according to Nielsen Media Research data.
Additionally, the network scored a 0.9 average for its additional 15 hours of
coverage during the 2001 grass-court tourney.
Despite the downturn, a Turner Sports spokesman said the network was 'very
pleased' with the ratings performance.
The spokesman pointed to the absences of Anna Kournikova, Monica Seles and
Mary Pierce on the women's side and the world's No. 1, Gustavo Kuerten, from the
men's draw for the Nielsen shortfalls.
Moreover, TNT's ratings were hurt by the early exit of defending champion
Pete Sampras. Had the Wimbledon king reached the semifinals, TNT would have
televised Sampras' match, which would have likely produced more American
interest than the rain-interrupted Goran Ivanisevic-Tim Henman contest.
Ivanisevic's dramatic five-set victory over Patrick Rafter in the men's final
Monday, July 9, generated a 1.0 average for MSNBC, which served up the match
live after precipitation played havoc with Wimbledon's and NBC's weekend's
schedule. Some 771,000 households tuned in from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m., more than
triple the 219,000 the network typically draws during those hours.
The Peacock's taped coverage of the final, beginning at 10 a.m., notched a
3.0 in overnight Nielsens versus a 5.0 for Sampras-Rafter the year before in the
regularly slated Breakfast at Wimbledon Sunday-morning
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