Four-Round Viewership on FOX & FOX Sports 1 Sees +40% Boost
University Place, Wash. – Capping off what was a memorable week in the Pacific Northwest, Sunday’s final round of the 115th U.S. Open Championship reached its crescendo at the 18th and final hole. Televised for the first time in its entirety by FOX Sports, the event’s thrilling finish saw 21-year old Jordan Spieth claim his second-consecutive major championship victory in dramatic fashion, witnessed by 11.2 million viewers, according to Nielsen.
The final round featured a crowded leaderboard with a number of players narrowly off the pace and Sunday’s action posted a 4.2 household rating, averaging 6.7 million viewers on FOX broadcast network, a +46% increase over the U.S. Open’s final round in 2014 (4.6 million). The 4.2 rating versus 2014’s 3.0 marked the largest year-over-year gain for the final round since 1991-1992 (4.7/15 to 7.0/19).
Four-day coverage of the 115th U.S. Open Championship averaged a combined 3.5 million viewers each day across FOX and FOX Sports 1, a +40% increase over last year’s combined average on ESPN and NBC (2.5 million viewers). According to a custom analysis provided by Nielsen, the almost 40 hours of coverage of the 2015 U.S. Open reached a total of 34.9 million viewers.
Final Round Highlights:
– Sunday’s final-round broadcast peaked with 11.2 million viewers from 10:00–10:30 PM ET as audiences watched Spieth birdie the 18th hole and runner-up Dustin Johnson finish in the final group with a disappointing three-putt to finish one shot back.
– The primetime portion of Sunday’s telecast averaged a 5.3 rating and 8.7 million viewers from 7:00-10:46 PM ET, winning the night among the broadcast networks and giving FOX its most-watched Sunday night in primetime since Jan. 4 (NFC Wild Card Playoffs).
– In comparison to 2014’s final round, the final round broadcast showed significant ratings jumps across multiple key demographics, including: men 18-34, +63% (1.3 vs. 0.8) and men 18-49, +46%, (1.9 vs. 1.3).
– Top five markets for Sunday’s final-round coverage: Seattle (11.4), Jacksonville (6.8), Columbus (6.7), Louisville (6.6) and Las Vegas (6.5).
Four Round Highlights:
– FOX broadcast network coverage averaged 4.8 million viewers over the U.S. Open’s four days, a +41% increase over NBC’s average audience in 2014 (3.5 million viewers).
– In total, FOX and FOX Sports 1 combined to air just under 40 hours of live coverage of the U.S. Open, the most in the championship’s extensive history. The total of nearly 40 hours was more than five hours more than had ever previously been broadcast for the event and eight hours more than the average of the last 10 U.S. Opens.
– The expanded coverage had a positive impact on total minutes of viewing. Compared to last year, for example, this year’s U.S. Open was up an impressive +40% on average audience (3.5 million watching any given minute vs. 2.5 million last year), but up by +63% in total minutes viewed (8.4 billion minutes to 5.2 billion last year).
– Sunday’s final round was the second most-watched event ever on FOX Sports Go.
Through FOX Sports GO, USOpen.com and the U.S. Open official app, total live streams started were up +354% (5.9 million vs. 1.3 million) over 2014. Additionally, total streamed minutes reached 158 million, eclipsing the U.S. Open’s previous high of 130 million minutes in 2012.
115th U.S. OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP – FOX SPORTS HIGHLIGHTS
SUNDAY, JUNE 21
In what was a dramatic and thrilling finish, 21-year old Jordan Spieth won his second consecutive major championship Sunday at the 115th U.S. Open at Chambers Bay. The first-ever U.S. Open to be broadcast by FOX Sports, Sunday’s final round saw a host of competitors jockey for position, but it wasn’t until the 72nd hole of the championship that a pair of missed putts by Dustin Johnson yielded Spieth (68-67-71-69-275, -5) the U.S. Open trophy and his second major title in as many chances in 2015.
Following the final round, FOX Sports analysts offered opinions on the competitors and the memorable finish at the 18th hole:
Two-time major champion and lead U.S. Open on FOX analyst Greg Norman discussed the totality of Spieth’s overall game and his mature disposition:
“He is light years ahead of everybody else on tour because he has a complete game. He has composure and he is mature beyond his years. Some of the decisions he has made out here, he has really made collective positive decisions. Maybe it’s his dad, maybe it’s his caddie, maybe it’s his coach, I don’t know, but he has made some phenomenally mature decisions out there on the golf course and never really lets things get away from him. On the front nine today, he was a little bit edgy, a little bit agitated, a little bit out of sync, the putting stroke was a little bit quick. But as he got into it and he got into a position of winning, everything settled in.”
Major champion and U.S. Open on FOX studio analyst Tom Weiskopf discussed Johnson’s missed birdie putt on the 18th hole and said it will be important to get over today’s disappointment quickly:
“You can’t ever assume anything in this game, you have to continually keep your concentration and your focus on what you have to do. I think he forced that putt a little bit and it was downhill. But he had put himself in this position by missing three very short putts on this back nine. It’s a game of mistakes and that’s what it’s all about. Dustin Johnson has got to get over this as fast as he can because he’s such a talent. He has changed his lifestyle and those of us who have been in this position, you won’t forget that memory ever, but you have to get over it and go forward.”
Norman also experienced close defeats during his Hall of Fame playing career and talked about what it will take for Johnson to bounce back:
“That’s where my mind goes obviously. You saw where Dustin had collected himself during the round. It looked like he was completely out of it, but he got himself back into it. It’s sport and unfortunately in sport there is going to be a winner and there is going to be a loser. Dustin has to really get himself up and, forgive the pun, dust himself off as fast as he can, because he has so much talent and he is such a great player. He’s missed out four times now, but there is a great saying that Tom Watson told me, ‘Once you bite that snake’s head off, that snake is dead forever.’ All he has to do is go bite that snake’s head off at St. Andrews and he’ll be off and running.”
– FOX SPORTS –