The last U.S. Open men’s final on CBS went out with a whimper rather than a bang. First, by scheduling the final on Monday afternoon throughout the country and without a Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal or Andy Murray, the match between relative unknowns Maran Čilić and Kei Nishikori garnered little interest and resulted in a 1.9 overnight rating, the lowest since 1994.
Monday’s number is 32% lower than last year’s final between Djokovic and Nadal and 17% from two years ago which pitted Djokovic and Murray.
Another factor in the low number was several CBS affiliates as in the past, shuffled the final to other stations. Not wanting to pre-empt late afternoon programming such as syndicated shows or local news, some CBS stations elected to air it either on their digital .2 channels or to their co-owned stations affiliated with CW, Fox or other networks.
This marked the seventh straight year that the men’s final was played on a late Monday afternoon either due to weather issues or intentionally scheduled. Sports Media Watch points out the Monday finals are the seven lowest-rated dating back to 1995.
Next year when the U.S. Open moves to ESPN, the men’s final will resume a Sunday schedule.