Serena pushes ESPN ratings

Serena’s swan song most watched match in ESPN history

Serena’s swan song most watched match in ESPN history
Serena Williams of the US reacts to winning a point against Danka Kovinic of Montenegro during their first round match, during the US Open Tennis Championships, at the USTA National Tennis Center, in Flushing Meadows, New York, USA, 29 August 2022. The US Open runs from 29 August through 11 September. EPA-EFE/JUSTIN LANE

NEW YORK, Sept 6 (Reuters) - Serena Williams's defeat at the US Open on Friday in what was likely the final match of her glittering career was the most-watched tennis telecast in ESPN's 43-year history, the network said on Tuesday.

Williams’s third-round loss to Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovic at Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York averaged 4.8 million viewers from 7:15 p.m. – 10:30 p.m. ET and peaked with 6.9 million viewers in the 10:15 p.m. quarter-hour.

Williams and sister Venus took the tennis world by storm when they emerged from the courts of Compton, California as teenagers and went on to dominate and change the face of the predominantly white sport.

The winner of 23-Grand Slam singles tournaments, Williams transcended the sport and her likely departure from competitive tennis to focus on growing her family and business interests led to a flood of tributes from athletes, celebrities and politicians. Read full story

Williams’s three singles matches and one doubles match alongside Venus helped drive up viewership through the first five days of the tournament as an average of 1.1. million viewers tuned in to ESPN networks, up 101% versus 2021.

“These are the most-viewed first five days of the US Open on record on ESPN networks,” ESPN said in a press release.

A spokesman for network, whose stable of tennis analysts include former world number ones Chris Evert, John McEnroe and Caroline Wozniacki, last week told Reuters that the network would be happy to discuss the possibility of bringing Williams into the broadcast booth if she wanted to go in that direction in retirement. Read full story

(Reporting by Rory Carroll and Amy Tennery in New YorkEditing by Toby Davis)


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • David Anthony James Starley says:

    I tuned in to see if she’d lose, that’s all.
    At least Margaret Court (the most prolific LADY tennis player of all time) still retains her record, which she achieved through far greater adversity than Williams did and is therefore far, far greater an achievement.

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