Note: comparisons to recent years other than 2012, particularly for primetime viewing, are apples-to-oranges. 2012 was the last time the U.S. Open was played on the west coast and also the last time the open was telecast during primetime.
via Fox Sports:
FOX SPORTS’ COVERAGE OF 115th U.S. OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP DELIVERS LARGEST OPENING-ROUND AUDIENCE SINCE 2002
FOX Primetime Viewership Produces +100% Increase Over 2014
Combined Average Audience Between FOX Sports 1 and FOX Shows +54% Gain
Digital Live Streaming in the Opening Round More Than Doubles Entire 2014 Championship Audience
University Place, Wash. – FOX Sports’ inaugural presentation of the 115th U.S. Open Championship at Chambers Bay began Thursday with a combined 11 hours of live golf coverage on FOX Sports 1 (12:00 – 8:00 PM ET) and local FOX stations (8:00 – 11:09 PM ET), and the two networks combined to pull in the event’s largest opening-round viewership in over a decade.
The combined audience of the first-day coverage averaged 2.0 million viewers, making it the most-watched opening round since the 2002 U.S. Open at Bethpage Black, an event that ultimately saw Tiger Woods edge runner-up Phil Mickelson by three strokes to win his second U.S. Open title.
Audience deliveries showed impressive gains on both networks as fans tuned in to watch the opening-round coverage of golf’s most challenging major.
· Thursday’s combined average audience of 2.0 million viewers across FOX Sports 1 and local FOX stations was the largest since the 2002 U.S. Open at Bethpage Black (2.3 million).
· The average viewership marked a +54% increase over 2014’s opening-round coverage on NBC and ESPN (2.0 million vs. 1.3 million).
· Primetime coverage on local FOX stations averaged 3.0 million viewers, a +100% increase over NBC’s broadcast coverage in 2014 (1.5 million viewers), earning a 1.9/4 rating that was also +46% better than NBC last year (1.4/4).
· The opening-round of the championship drove FOX to a first-place finish among the broadcast networks in primetime in the key male demographics: 18-34 (0.6), 18-49 (0.9) and 25-54 (1.2).
· Viewership on FOX peaked with 3.5 million viewers from 10:00-10:30 PM ET.
· Top five markets for Thursday’s opening round coverage on FOX broadcast network: Seattle (6.0), Louisville (4.7), Columbus (4.6), Indianapolis (4.4) and Detroit (4.1).
· FOX Sports 1 averaged 1.5 million viewers throughout the day, a +25% increase over ESPN’s delivery in 2014. Viewership on FOX Sports 1 peaked from 5:30-6:00 PM ET at 2.1 million viewers, following the start of Woods’ opening round.
· On the digital front, the number of official U.S. Open live streams accessed during opening-round action were more than double the total combined number measured over the entire four-day championship in 2014. Fox Sports GO, USOpen.com and the U.S. Open official app currently offer multiple channels of live coverage, including featured groups, featured holes and U.S. Open 360.
· Golf content on FOXSports.com was consumed by its largest audience since April 2011.