French Open Coverage Scores Tennis Channel’s Best-Ever Total-Day Rating

Tennis Channel has bid adieu to the French Open for another year, but it returns to the rest of its expansive schedule with fond Nielsen memories. Now in its ninth year as the primary U.S. rightsholder for the clay-court Grand Slam, the network logged new ratings marks for live and full-tourney coverage, highlighted by its best-ever total-day tally.

Its live tournament coverage notched a 0.72 coverage-area rating, a 33% jump from 2014’s 0.54, translating into 175,000 households in Nielsen’s 56 metered markets, the best in its history from Roland Garros. From a total-day perspective (6 a.m.-3 a.m.), the presentation May 24-June 7 also grew 33%, to a 0.36 from 0.27 last year.

The improvement accords with Chairman/CEO Ken Solomon’s remarks in a recent interview in which he said fans have grown accustomed to the network’s broad coverage from the City of Light and that viewers would be on board from the start of the tourney.

The total-day delivery was boosted by the results of Monday June 1, when Tennis posted a 0.56 coverage-area rating, with the 993,000 unduplicated homes in the metered markets now standing as the greatest household tune-in in the network’s history. The 5½-hour live-coverage window that day featured world No. 1 Serena Williams taking the measure of fellow American Sloane Stephens and the four-set battle between the U.S.’s Jack Sock and nine-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal.

Results also were solid for nightly interview and recap show French Open Tonight, which averaged a 0.41, up 32% from 0.31 the prior year.

“Our French Open ratings validate Tennis Channel’s commitment to broadcasting first-match–through–last-match coverage on TV each year for fans,” says Doug Martz, the network’s SVP, advertising sales. ”With each passing year, more fans of our sport come to see Tennis Channel as the always-on, default channel on their television sets, and the numbers we saw this year in Paris — and really so far in 2015 overall —reflect that trend.”

According to network officials, Tennis Channel has seen a 30% increase in household coverage-area rating, to 0.13, through the first 23 weeks of 2015. Top tourneys have been at the heart of the uptick. The network garnered a 31% rise in household coverage-area ratings, to 0.64, with the year’s first major, the Australian Open, and the so-called fifth slams — the men’s and women’s tournaments from Indian Wells and Miami — averaged 0.43 and 0.37, representing respective gains of 59% and 32% over 2014.