INDIANAPOLIS - USA Track & Field's signature series of events, the Indoor Visa Championship Series, in 2009 saw a huge increase in ratings for its ESPN shows as well as a significant bump in ratings for the USA Indoor Track & Field Championships.
Ratings on ESPN, which carried coverage of the Reebok Boston Indoor Games and Tyson Invitational, were up 22 percent over 2008, earning a .50 average rating. Ratings for ESPN2's coverage of the 2009 USA Indoor Track & Field Championships, the finale event of the Visa Championship Series, were up nine percent over 2008, with a .51 rating. ESPN2 broadcasts for the season overall were up 2 percent, averaging .45 for the Indoor Visa Championship Series.
"The kind of ratings we saw this season reflect that the Visa Championship Series is continuing to gain traction among TV viewers," said USATF CEO Doug Logan. "In 2009 we had some terrific storylines that provided a consistent theme throughout the series. The performances of our athletes, combined with some of the exciting changes taking place in our sport, clearly have resonated with fans.
"The numbers are very good, but we can, should and must get them even higher. Working closely with our partners at ESPN, we will continue to build on these ratings numbers for the 2009 Outdoor Visa Championship Series."
The 2009 Indoor Visa Championship Series included key athletes competing -and winning - at all four stops of the series: the 102nd Millrose Games, Reebok Grand Prix, Tyson Invitational and USA Indoor Track & Field Championships. Olympic silver medalists Terrence Trammell and Jenn Stuczynski were undefeated throughout the series and led the race for the Visa Championship as the owners of the top individual performances entering the USA Indoor Championships.
At the Championships, the performance of Lolo Jones in the women's 60m hurdles surpassed Stuczynski's American record in the pole vault, giving Jones the women's Visa Championship. Trammell broke a decade-old meet record in the men's 60m hurdles to win the men's Visa Championship.
The 2009 Outdoor Visa Championship Series will kick off April 25-26 with "Relays Weekend" on ESPN2. For the first time, USATF will bring the excitement of both the Penn Relays and the Drake Relays to national television audiences. USA vs. The World at the Penn Relays will air from 4-6 p.m. on April 25, with the Drake Relays on the air April 26 from 2-3:30 p.m.
For complete results, quotes, news and photos from the 2009 Indoor Visa Championship series, and for a full schedule of the 2009 Outdoor Visa Championship Series, visit www.visachampionshipseries.com.
About USA Track & Field
USA Track & Field (USATF) is the National Governing Body for track and field, long-distance running and race walking in the United States. USATF encompasses the world's oldest organized sports, some of the most-watched events of Olympic broadcasts, the #1 high school and junior high school participatory sport and more than 30 million adult runners in the United States.
For more information on USATF, visit USATF.org.