Wimbledon and Peacock a love match


Wimbledon final ratings this year? A smash.

Sunday's daylong battle between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal gave NBC its best overnight ratings for a gentlemen's final in eight years and the best ratings for a non-U.S. final since 1991.

"Breakfast at Wimbledon" on Sunday averaged a 4.6 overnight household rating/12 share from 9 a.m.-4:45 p.m. EDT, Nielsen Media Research said. The match, delayed by rain for more than two hours, was won in epic fashion by Nadal, who earned his first Wimbledon championship and kept Federer from winning a record sixth consecutive title at the All England Club.

NBC Sports president Ken Schanzer said Monday that the network lost some of its audience during the two rain delays but that it was only temporary.

"The entire audience came back once (Federer and Nadal) got back on the court. It was almost like a three-act play," Schanzer said. "The first act was Nadal. The second act was Federer. The third act was the denounement, the resolution. The drama just kept building."

It was the best overnight rating for a men's final since 2000's Pete Sampras-Patrick Rafter (5.0/14), and up 44% compared with last year's Federer-Nadal match (3.2/9) that Federer won. The peak was 6.5/15 between 4-4:30 p.m. It also was the best overnight men's Wimbledon final since Boris Becker-Michael Stich in 1991, a 5.0/17.

And it also gives NBC the thought that there could be high-rated rematches in the future, and not just at Wimbledon.

"There is an emerging rivalry in tennis, Nadal-Federer, and big audiences tend to be driven by stars and rivalries," Schanzer said. "It's great to have a star, it's even better to have a star and a rival. This rivalry has engaged and I felt that before the match, so frankly what was needed was a great match and it was everything we could have imagined."

Sunday's performance follows Saturday's Serena Williams-Venus Williams final that drew the best overnight rating for a Wimbledon women's final in three years. The match, won by Venus in straight sets, posted a 3.4 rating/10 share, a 21% increase over last year's final between Venus Williams and Marion Bartoli, also won by Williams. It peaked toward the end with a 5.1/15.

It was the highest since the 4.0/12 posted by the 2005 by another final between two Americans, Venus Williams and Lindsay Davenport.

"It's hard to imagine that it could have been a better weekend," Schanzer said. (partialdiff)