So much for the US Open Series being a failure [Archive] - MensTennisForums.com

So much for the US Open Series being a failure

tangerine_dream
08-12-2005, 04:53 PM
Great news for US tennis :D

U.S. Open Series Continues To Wrack Up Ratings

By Tennis Week
08/12/2005

The U.S. Open Series continues to cause viewers to push buttons. Tennis fans have been pushing the buttons on their remotes tuning into the U.S. Open Series in greater numbers this summer.

Despite the fact several of the sport's top stars have been sidelined with injuries, USTA and ESPN today announced that television viewership through the first two weeks of the U.S. Open Series featuring both men's and women's tournaments are up 30 percent over ESPN's 2004 coverage, attracting more than 13.8 million viewers.

Overall TV ratings have climbed 33 percent, according to ESPN. Total viewership of ESPN2's telecast of the men's Legg Mason Tennis Classic final featuring Andy Roddick and James Blake doubled ESPN2's rating for programming in the same time period in 2004 when Lleyton Hewitt beat Gilles Muller in the final.

Viewership of the women's Acura Classic final featuring Mary Piece and Ai Sugiyama was up 65 percent from 2004 when Lindsay Davenport crushed Anastasia Myskina with 680,000 viewers tuning in. The Acura Classic joined the U.S. Open Series earlier this year.

The U.S. Open Series continues this weekend with the men playing in Montreal at the Rogers Masters and the women competing in Los Angeles at the JPMorgan Chase Open. ESPN executives must be drooling at the prospect of a potential Montreal final between two-time champion Andre Agassi, who has been a ratings winner throughout his career, and charismatic Roland Garros champion Rafael Nadal.

The television schedule is as follows, with all times Eastern and all action on ESPN2:

Friday, August 12th

Rogers Cup 1-3 p.m.; 7-9 p.m.
JPMorgan Chase Open 4-6 p.m.; 10:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m.
Saturday, August 13th

Rogers Cup 1-3 p.m.; 8:30-10:30 p.m.
JPMorgan Chase Open 10:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m.
Sunday, August 14th

Rogers Cup 3-5 p.m
JPMorgan Chase Open 5-7 p.m.

oneandonlyhsn
08-12-2005, 05:21 PM
Its great that the US ratings are up since most people in North America dont give a shit about tennis down here anymore. Maybe its just me but the tennis has been :zzz: for me, I enjoyed matches on clay more than the US Open series :eek: and I am not a big fan of clay, so that says something

Hopefully Cincy will be better, so many matches I would love to see. Safin vs Rafa, Rafa vs Roddick, and the list goes on but so far its been :o

wimbledonfan
08-12-2005, 05:52 PM
I emphatically disagree . So far , the u.s open series has been a success and the new emergence of tennis talent such as Rafael Nadal and Richard Gasquet has certainly made the sport a little more competitive and interesting to say the least . If you're a Roger Federer fan than it probably has been boring for you . The upside to all this , is that this years u.s open should be very interesting with so many potentially great match ups that i'm looking forward to .

ExpectedWinner
08-12-2005, 06:14 PM
I emphatically disagree . So far , the u.s open series has been a success and the new emergence of tennis talent such as Rafael Nadal and Richard Gasquet has certainly made the sport a little more competitive and interesting to say the least .


Well, the emergence of Nadal and Gasquet has nothing to do with the US open series. Canadian Open , Cincy have always been interesting, even if some top players missed one or another.

NYCtennisfan
08-12-2005, 06:19 PM
It never was a failure. Most of that talk was wishful thinking done by people on this board.

CooCooCachoo
08-12-2005, 06:26 PM
Is there a causal connection between creating the US Open Series and getting more viewers? Is that proven?

CooCooCachoo
08-12-2005, 06:28 PM
Total viewership of ESPN2's telecast of the men's Legg Mason Tennis Classic final featuring Andy Roddick and James Blake doubled ESPN2's rating for programming in the same time period in 2004 when Lleyton Hewitt beat Gilles Muller in the final.


To quote Homer: "Doh" (or is it "Duh"? Can't say I watch the Simpsons).

Two US players in a final, instead of an Aussie versus a nobody whose origins the average viewer doesn't even care about.

oneandonlyhsn
08-12-2005, 06:32 PM
I emphatically disagree . So far , the u.s open series has been a success and the new emergence of tennis talent such as Rafael Nadal and Richard Gasquet has certainly made the sport a little more competitive and interesting to say the least . If you're a Roger Federer fan than it probably has been boring for you . The upside to all this , is that this years u.s open should be very interesting with so many potentially great match ups that i'm looking forward to .

:confused: My point exactly, Rafa, Gasquet and the like just started playing in Montreal, the other tournies in the US Open series have had pitiful players except for Roddick and Andre in the last one, no offense to any fan groups.

mitalidas
08-12-2005, 06:33 PM
Is there a causal connection between creating the US Open Series and getting more viewers? Is that proven?

cannot be proven in the absence of something independent that happened at the same time.

more fans could have entered the game because of nadal or Federer or roddick or whoever between 2003 and today. these people could be the ones who are the "additional people" tuning in, but never did in previous years. tv wacks will attribute that to "Success" of us open series. when in fact it could be (a) lack of other things to watch on TV, (b) interest in seeing nadal irrespective of whether he plays series or not or (c) in fact, success of the series.
distinguishing between these is simply not possible by looking at some silly statistics. journalists do this routinely

njnetswill
08-12-2005, 07:02 PM
To guys like us who come to MTF, the US Open Series, I admit, looks very stupid.

but to people who would otherwise not even know there are tournaments played every week in tennis, the US Open Series helps them get into the know of things. Somewhat. So I'm glad they are showing those cheesy ads and making up those horrific nicknames.

Winston's Human
08-12-2005, 07:06 PM
IMO, ratings are up because the semifinal and final matches are being televised at the same time each weekend.

In past years, you usually had to scour the weekend television listings to see when ESPN would show tennis -- often on tape delay.

Breakaway
08-12-2005, 09:03 PM
Great to hear :yeah:

NYCtennisfan
08-12-2005, 10:30 PM
To guys like us who come to MTF, the US Open Series, I admit, looks very stupid.

but to people who would otherwise not even know there are tournaments played every week in tennis, the US Open Series helps them get into the know of things. Somewhat. So I'm glad they are showing those cheesy ads and making up those horrific nicknames.

Very good point and that's what it is all about.

Lourdes
08-12-2005, 10:32 PM
There has been great tennis, nice surprises. It's all enjoyable.

Leo
08-13-2005, 03:31 PM
To quote Homer: "Doh" (or is it "Duh"? Can't say I watch the Simpsons).

Two US players in a final, instead of an Aussie versus a nobody whose origins the average viewer doesn't even care about.

True, but Pierce vs Sugiyama did get better ratings than American Davenport vs. Myskina... not that Lindsay has ever been a ratings whore in the US.

I guess all the ridiculous publicity by the USTA has helped boost ratings a bit but the fact is that it's just a load of B.S. The summer season is entirely the same as two years ago without the US Open Series, only difference is blue courts and a little more money on the line but the top players don't care much because they already have mega millions. As Kim Clijsters said, it's not like she changed her summer schedule to fit with the USO Series, she's playing the same events as always.

LoveFifteen
08-13-2005, 05:45 PM
Are most tennis fans as negative and cynical as the MTF posters? Or is that more of a message board thing?

tangerine_dream
08-22-2005, 08:16 PM
Page Turners

By Tennis Week
08/19/2005

The U.S. Open starts in nine days and tennis is already a hot topic in the American media. Several of tennis' top players and leading personalities are turning up on magazine covers and in features and photo spreads, according to the ATP Insider.

Former U.S. Open champion Andy Roddick graces the cover of the August edition of Cargo.

Australian Open champion Marat Safin is the subject of a seven-page spread in the September issue of GQ.

Much to the delight of his female fans, reigning Roland Garros champion Rafael Nadal appears in Vogue and world No. 1 Roger Federer is featured in the premiere edition of Men's Vogue.

Washington, D.C. finalist James Blake, who provided a tough test for Federer in the opening round of Cincinnati, is the subject of a New York Times Magazine feature story that will appear on August 28th.

:banana: :banana: :banana:

And I'm seriously considering subscribing to ESPN Magazine because they almost always have somthing tennis-related in there (unlike Sports Illustrated). In fact, for the Andrew Murray fans here, ESPN mag featured him in a nice long article in this week's issue. :)

NYCtennisfan
08-22-2005, 08:40 PM
Are most tennis fans as negative and cynical as the MTF posters? Or is that more of a message board thing?

Lol. I don't know but there are very few places to look for positive vibes on this board. :)

PamV
08-22-2005, 11:01 PM
It never was a failure. Most of that talk was wishful thinking done by people on this board.

That depends on what they were trying to achieve. They still didn't get all the top players to attend most of the US Hardcourt events. It seems to me that Cincinnati was the one big smash success that they had since they got all the top 5 players to enter plus Agassi. However, Cincy being a TMS would be important any way. How many viewers did Indy, LA, and Washington get? I think that the general public had no idea that any of the tournaments were going on.

PamV
08-22-2005, 11:09 PM
To guys like us who come to MTF, the US Open Series, I admit, looks very stupid.

but to people who would otherwise not even know there are tournaments played every week in tennis, the US Open Series helps them get into the know of things. Somewhat. So I'm glad they are showing those cheesy ads and making up those horrific nicknames.

I don't think the general public saw those ads and knew what they were about. I mentioned the Cincinnati tournament to someone the other day and they said, "Oh I didn't know there was tennis in Cincinnati". Furthermore.....they didn't even show a lot of the good matches on television. What's the point of running an ad that the general public doesn't understand and then not even advertising when a specific tournament will be shown? Then to not even bother to show all the matches of the top 5 guys? What kind of promo is that?

tangerine_dream
08-23-2005, 12:55 AM
That depends on what they were trying to achieve. They still didn't get all the top players to attend most of the US Hardcourt events.
LOL. That's absolutely not the point of the US Open Series at all. Here is what they are trying to achieve:

The USTA*has announced the launch of the US Open Series, an historic breakthrough for the sport that links 10 summer hard-court tournaments to the US Open, creating a cohesive, six-week summer tennis season for ATP and WTA Tour professional tournaments in North America.* The US Open Series will mark the first time ever in the U.S. that there will be a consistent television schedule for the tournaments — and for the fans — beginning this July after Wimbledon and leading up to the US Open....

"This unprecedented partnership within the sport has resulted in a huge step forward for professional tennis in North America," said Arlen Kantarian, Chief Executive, Professional Tennis, USTA. "The US Open Series creates, for the first time, a clear and concise big-league summer season for tennis, leading into and culminating with the US Open.* A unified Series with a consistent television platform benefits everyone -- players, tournaments, broadcasters, sponsors, and, most importantly, fans. It’s a testament to the sport's shared desire to increase fan and media attention."...
*
"This breakthrough concept is designed to elevate the profile of professional tennis in the U.S.," said Alan Schwartz, Chairman of the Board and President, USTA. "The US Open Series plays a critical role in the USTA’s mission to promote and develop the growth of tennis and will help increase viewership and participation."...

"It is the tennis fan who will likely benefit the most through greater exposure on television for tennis, for ATP players and for ATP tournaments with the US Open Series,” said Mark Miles, CEO, ATP....

The US Open Series is the six-week summer tennis season of 10 major North American tournaments linked to the US Open.*The US Open Series launched in 2004, and resulted in record attendance, TV viewership and live broadcast hours for the sport. Television viewership was up over 50%, with regularly scheduled broadcasts on ESPN, CBS, NBC Sports, and The Tennis Channel.* In total, the US Open Series events - - including the US Open - - generated a record 1.5 million attendees, 126 million TV viewers and over 15 million website visits, making it the strongest summertime property in sports. Lindsay Davenport and Lleyton Hewitt won the inaugural US Open Series.


I could probably keep repeating these facts over and over again and still some people would absolutely refuse to believe that the US Open series has been very good for American tennis and that, in a land where poker and spelling bees take precedence on TV over tennis, it has been a huge success. Whatever people's motive is for secretly wishing failure on tennis of all things, remains a mystery. :)

NYCtennisfan
08-23-2005, 01:15 AM
For what they are trying to do, the series has been successful so far. People know when the tennis is on, it's consistent, it's been good. The series, like a poster said previously, is not meant for most of the people on this board. That's not who they are going after.

PamV
08-23-2005, 01:29 AM
For what they are trying to do, the series has been successful so far. People know when the tennis is on, it's consistent, it's been good. The series, like a poster said previously, is not meant for most of the people on this board. That's not who they are going after.

Who were they going after then? I thought they were trying to attract more interest to tennis within the general public. One way of doing that was to get top names to take the US hardcourt season seriously and attend more than just the TMS.

All in all, I did NOT know when the tournaments were playing. I had to search that out on the internet and keep checking ESPN's schedule. The average person doesn't do that to find tennis. I never saw ads telling me when the Indy, LA, or Washington tournament would be shown.

I also wonder why they didn't show ALL of the Top 5 guys' matches in Cincinnati? They didn't show the Nadal v. Berdych match for example. Despite trying to drum up interest and bothering to put out an ad that had international players they still didn't bother to show the international player's matches.

PamV
08-23-2005, 01:34 AM
Tangerine_dream:

I think to make their series more exciting to fans they certainly wanted the top 5 players to come and play in the US. I don't think they did a good job of advertising when the tournaments would be and at what times. I aslo think they didn't show enough live matches and that they chose to focus on matches with Americans rather than matches of the highest ranked players. I think across the US viewers care more about seeing the top players than they do about seeing a match solely because there is an American in it.

mitalidas
08-23-2005, 01:57 AM
If the Series' goal is not to have the top players play, why are they offering to double the winnings at the USO?

It is a fine official line to have --" benefit mainly of the fans"-- but it is ultimately all about the bottomline , and they were found to be completely mistaken in the belief that doubling the winnings was an incentive for the top players to play. When has the USTA, ATP or any of the organizers engaged in stuff for "benefit of the fans"?? Like taking doubles to extinction??

Another sad example of someone blindly mouthing the organizers' words

star
08-23-2005, 02:42 AM
You've been saying that over and over in one way or another, but I still don't understand what your point is. One of the goals of the U.S. Open Series was to attract viewers, and that has been achieved even though some of the top players for both the men and the women have been missing. That fact that some of the top players have been missing makes the series even more successful, not less successful.

Action Jackson
08-23-2005, 11:11 AM
As long as they succeed in their objectives and don't expect a whole lot of players to stop playing the summer clay event, just to play the US Open series, when the incentive isn't there for them to do so, then that's fine. If it improves ratings and gets more people to attend then good for them.

revolution
08-23-2005, 11:17 AM
It hasn't really been a success, with needless clay events taking place during it, when the players should all be in the US warming up.

Action Jackson
08-23-2005, 11:20 AM
It hasn't really been a success, with needless clay events taking place during it, when the players should all be in the US warming up.

Doesn't that depend on the objective of whether it's a success or not? These players wouldn't be going over any earlier than they do now either way and you don't want me to bring up the fact that 50 per cent of the major events are on hardcourt again do you.

revolution
08-23-2005, 11:28 AM
Doesn't that depend on the objective of whether it's a success or not? These players wouldn't be going over any earlier than they do now either way and you don't want me to bring up the fact that 50 per cent of the major events are on hardcourt again do you.


Well you don't get HC events during the proper clay season so why should there be clay during the HC season?

Action Jackson
08-23-2005, 11:31 AM
Well you don't get HC events during the proper clay season so why should there be clay during the HC season?

Did you know that Washington and Indianapolis used to be green clay events? That's why that has happened and the US Open was played on green clay, then they switched it to the hardcourt, that explains it. But hey, just any excuse for a whine about too many clay tournaments, when there are too many hardcourts on clay and hardcourts.

tangerine_dream
08-23-2005, 03:11 PM
You've been saying that over and over in one way or another, but I still don't understand what your point is. One of the goals of the U.S. Open Series was to attract viewers, and that has been achieved even though some of the top players for both the men and the women have been missing. That fact that some of the top players have been missing makes the series even more successful, not less successful.
Well said, star. She doesn't really have a point to make, other than this absurd "Well, if Marat or Lleyton didn't bother showing up, then it's a failure!" refrain. Some people just can't read or, as I said before, hope the series to be as big a failure as they wish it to be. Not every top player in the world has ever attended these events to begin with. The point of this series, again, is to connect all of these smallish tournaments into one cohesive unit, with a reliable TV schedule that people can count on. As a result of getting these tournaments streamlined, organized, and heavily promoted, attendance and viewership has been up.

So until the detractors can show numbers proving that the series did not achieve its ultimate goals then they don't really have much of a leg to stand on. Still, they can always assuage their fear by telling themselves "Well, Rafa didn't play, therefore it sucked!" :lol:

Skyward
08-23-2005, 03:19 PM
I'm just happy that tennis is on TV. Not a tiny hope to get the Tennis Channel in my area. :sad: It means I''ll be left with zero tennis coverage after the USO.

Turkeyballs Paco
08-23-2005, 03:22 PM
I'm just happy that tennis is on TV. Not a tiny hope to get the Tennis Channel in my area. :sad: It means I''ll be left with zero tennis coverage after the USO.

Honestly, I haven't really watched much of TTC this year, except for a few small tournaments. I really would prefer if TTC got more tournaments, but ESPN is hogging everything good. TTC's coverage is very impressive, and doesn't depend on players' nationalities. And, TTC is digital, which doesn't waste as much space on my DVR... always running out of room on that thing!

Socket
08-23-2005, 03:42 PM
I just saw that the Comcast affiliate I use has added TTC to its listings although it's not yet actually offered. :woohoo: :woohoo:

mitalidas
08-23-2005, 04:21 PM
You've been saying that over and over in one way or another, but I still don't understand what your point is. One of the goals of the U.S. Open Series was to attract viewers, and that has been achieved even though some of the top players for both the men and the women have been missing. That fact that some of the top players have been missing makes the series even more successful, not less successful.

Well, let me explain to you so that its clearer.

If the only objective is to streamline several tournaments played in the US in the summer, on hardcourt, to attract viewers they can just about do that by scheduling as they planned-- TV times, commentators, network carriers, and by officially designating which tournaments are part of the Series. As per their goal, which is to satisfy the viewers, this should be enough. And the leader at the end, they can reward with a trophy.

But they don't just do that, do they? The big underlying unifying theme is the MONETARY aspect to the PLAYERS -- the doubling (to as much as $2 million in prize money) to the winner, and successively less to the runners up, etc. According to what you say --which is that the Series is created for gathering more viewership --this has no bearing on what the viewer gets. Then, why add this as an incentive to the players? They haven't changed the tournament lineup in this Series from what's been there for YEARS. They haven't changed the ATP ranking points from what's been there for years. The only thing they have changed is the financial outlay for the PLAYERS. If it isn't then obvious, that this is done as an incentive to get more players in,and not as some benefit to the viewer, then it is beyond me to explain it clearer --but others on the forum can try

nobama
08-23-2005, 05:50 PM
Well, let me explain to you so that its clearer.

If the only objective is to streamline several tournaments played in the US in the summer, on hardcourt, to attract viewers they can just about do that by scheduling as they planned-- TV times, commentators, network carriers, and by officially designating which tournaments are part of the Series. As per their goal, which is to satisfy the viewers, this should be enough. And the leader at the end, they can reward with a trophy.

But they don't just do that, do they? The big underlying unifying theme is the MONETARY aspect to the PLAYERS -- the doubling (to as much as $2 million in prize money) to the winner, and successively less to the runners up, etc. According to what you say --which is that the Series is created for gathering more viewership --this has no bearing on what the viewer gets. Then, why add this as an incentive to the players? They haven't changed the tournament lineup in this Series from what's been there for YEARS. They haven't changed the ATP ranking points from what's been there for years. The only thing they have changed is the financial outlay for the PLAYERS. If it isn't then obvious, that this is done as an incentive to get more players in,and not as some benefit to the viewer, then it is beyond me to explain it clearer --but others on the forum can tryIt didn't work as players kept their same schedules like always. I read that Roger was offered big bucks to stay in Europe and play on the clay as well as come to the States and play on hard. And of course we all know what he did - he took a 6 week holiday. Lletyon Hewitt took time off as well (I know part of that was due to his wedding), and Rafa decided to stay and play in the dirt. With the exception of Roddick and Agassi, the superstars didn't show up - except for the required TMS events. I don't mind it actually because it gives other players a chance to go far in a tournament and maybe even win one. That's much less likely when the top 5 are in the draw.

Socket
08-23-2005, 06:01 PM
I think that the USTA is fully aware that the money aspect of the US Open Series is more likely to be a marketing gimmick for television and fans than something that motivates the top players. After all, it only affects what, four players in total (men's and women's champions and finalists)? Most of the players who have a shot at getting the bonus make the vast majority of their money from their endorsement contracts, not their prize money, so it won't be their single or even main motivation. But I think it still functions well as a marketing tool for the events and television to use to get the fans watching. I do think casual fans enjoy hearing that somebody like Robby Ginepri is in the running for the bonus money, even if they don't expect him to win the US Open.

mitalidas
08-23-2005, 06:27 PM
I think that the USTA is fully aware that the money aspect of the US Open Series is more likely to be a marketing gimmick for television and fans than something that motivates the top players. After all, it only affects what, four players in total (men's and women's champions and finalists)? Most of the players who have a shot at getting the bonus make the vast majority of their money from their endorsement contracts, not their prize money, so it won't be their single or even main motivation. But I think it still functions well as a marketing tool for the events and television to use to get the fans watching. I do think casual fans enjoy hearing that somebody like Robby Ginepri is in the running for the bonus money, even if they don't expect him to win the US Open.

I think that's untrue. A million dollars is a lot of money, even for these rich players. There are rumours of Marat/Roger flying for the China/Japan open for half million dollar appearance fees --and in his last interview Roger mentioned the pressure that comes from being offered so much money to just show up.

Further, if such tennis fans are so taken in by the gimmick of offering more money to the players, they might also realize that the grand total for someone like ginepri from winning or doing well in the Series is probabilistically in the $40,000-$50,000 range. Does not sound attractive at all

The fact remains that the Series attributes increased TV viewership to success of the Series, which is extremely problematic. With new interesting personalities, there just are more interested fans, and these fans would increase viewership regardless of Series or not --would you or other fans not watch these tournaments if they were not lumped into a big Series but were just individual tournaments?

KoOlMaNsEaN
08-23-2005, 06:34 PM
Wish we could see the us open series up here.
All we get this summer is-
Both canadian opens
indy final
TMS Cincinatti
Us Open

Whistleway
08-23-2005, 06:36 PM
relative statistics my ass !! Don't buy into the junk that ESPN/ATP puts out. I will believe it the day, when new members flow into MTF like a river.

Tennis is dead here. But, who cares? I love it. So hell !! ;)

Angle Queen
08-31-2005, 02:08 PM
Hmmm....what did the winner of the Series cost sponsors on the mens side? $15K. :lol: Maybe Kim can still stick 'em for a mil.