Aided by the holes left in a new slate of cable and broadcast partners and a full platter of weekday action, USOpen.org became the go-to site for tennis fans in search of live feeds — and it shows in the first-week numbers. Unique visitors rose to 5,352,08, up 60 percent over 2008, with more than 23 million visits, according to stats provided by the USTA. On the streaming side, 6.4 million streams were activated during nearly 1.4 million media console launches. Average time open: 3 hours and 10 minutes. The US Open’s iPhone app, downloaded 175,361 times, offered live radio and non-match video on demand, including press conferences.
Tennis — described to me by one insider as the top of the second-tier for U.S. sports — isn’t drawing from a huge fan pool like March Madness on Demand but some of the viewing patterns are similar. A USTA spokesman told paidContent the biggest traffic came Friday during the day. What happened Saturday night when the perfect storm hit on TV for many fans? Was there a noticeable bump when CBS (NYSE: CBS) stopped its coverage during the Isner-Roddick match, shifting to The Tennis Channel — a cable and satellite network blacked out in many New York homes by a dispute between the network and Cablevision (NYSE: CVC), and not easily available to some. ESPN (NYSE: DIS), which has the weekday rights, had a conflict, too. (Almost funny to hear people complaining they couldn’t get it on the previous pairing of NBC and USA Network.) Anecdotally, it was clear from Twitter and other sources that people were watching online. I’ve asked USTA and will update if we get numbers. I had the Tennis Channel and full coverage on DirecTV (NYSE: DTV) but used online access to toggle between the two late matches.