Press Release

U.S. Championships draw high ratings for NBC

Figure skating is successful in new primetime slot

NBC's weekend primetime coverage of Johnny Weir (left) and Evan Lysacek (right) fighting for gold garnered a 3.5 overnight rating.
NBC's weekend primetime coverage of Johnny Weir (left) and Evan Lysacek (right) fighting for gold garnered a 3.5 overnight rating. (Paul Harvath)

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By NBC Sports/NBC Universal Media
(01/29/2008) - Sunday night's primetime broadcast of the 2008 U.S. Figure Skating Championships (7-9 p.m. ET/PT), which featured Evan Lysacek's narrow victory over Johnny Weir for 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 the men last year in a telecast that started at 11 p.m. ET).

Outside of Tiger Woods' final-round romp in the Buick Invitational 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, even besting 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. Championships (8-11 p.m. ET/PT) was 65 percent 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 last weekend in the ladies free skate, garnering 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 multi-year agreement between NBC Sports and U.S. Figure Skating, 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 the national ratings are released Tuesday.