Boosted by the controversial quarterfinal match between Serena Williams and Jennifer Capriati, USA Network scored ratings improvement with its coverage of the 2004 U.S. Open Tennis Championships.
USA executives reported that the network’s primetime ratings improved 15% to a 1.1 average from a 0.96 during the rain-marred 2003 Grand Slam event from Flushing Meadow, N.Y.
Average primetime viewership grew 21% to 1.3 million viewers from 1.05 million last year. Still, the 2004 Open was well off USA’s 1.5 primetime average for the 2002 tourney.
The Sept. 7 Williams/Capriati quarterfinal netted a 2.23 national rating, translating into 1.93 million households and 2.6 million viewers overall.
The tournament’s daytime results also climbed, as USA posted a 0.53, up from a 0.48 the year before, while viewership grew 15% to 536,000 from 466,000 in 2003.
All told, USA scored a 0.8 average (884,000 viewers) for 102.5 hours of coverage, versus a 0.76 (802,000 viewers) for 112 hours in 2003.
“Coming on the heels of the Olympics, the U.S. Open took some time to gather momentum this year," USA senior vice president and executive producer Gordon Beck said in a prepared statement. “We definitely benefited from the compelling quarterfinal matchups and less rain this year.”