Figure Skating Gets Big Boost In Ratings On NBC

NEW YORK (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) – Sunday night’s primetime broadcast of the U.S. Figure Skating Championships (7-9 p.m. ET/PT) featuring Evan Lysacek’s narrow victory over Johnny Weir to give him his second consecutive National Championship, produced a 3.5 overnight rating and a five share. Though unable to exactly compare overnight and national ratings (overnight ratings are not available for ESPN’s coverage), rough estimates show a gain of more than 500 percent over ESPN’s coverage of the Men’s Free Skate last year (ESPN received a national rating of 0.57 for their coverage of Pairs last year in a telecast that started at 11 p.m. ET).

Outside of Tiger Woods final-round romp 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, including 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. Figure Skating Championships (8-11 p.m. ET/PT) was 65% 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 in the Ladies Free Skate which produced 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 multiyear agreement between NBC Sports and the U.S. Figure Skating Association, 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 national ratings are released Tuesday. –by CelebrityAccess Staff Writers

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