US Open women's final draws more viewers on ESPN than men's final
The women’s final at the recent US Open grand slam tennis championships drew a larger audience on ESPN, the global media giant, than the men’s match.
The women’s final on 11 September, which was the first Open to feature two unseeded players and saw 18-year-old Emma Raducanu beat 19-year-old Leylah Fernandez to become the first qualifier to win a major, pulled in an average of 2.44 million viewers and a peak audience of 3.4 million.
This represents the most-watched women’s final out of the seven the network has broadcast since 2015.
The women’s final was also watched by a peak of 9.2 million on Channel 4, the UK commercial broadcaster, after the network signed a last-minute deal with Amazon Prime, the streaming service of the internet giant.
In contrast, the men’s final on 12 September, in which Russia's Daniil Medvedev beat world number one Novak Djokovic to end his hopes of a calendar grand slam, drew an average of 2.05 million viewers and a peak of only 2.7 million.
The lower figures were likely partly due to the match having competed for viewership with American football’s NFL.
Both finals took place at the Arthur Ashe Stadium in the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, New York.
Despite this year’s tournament permitting fans, compared to the 2020 edition that was played behind closed doors, the viewership for both men's and women's matches saw an increase of 37 per cent compared to the previous year.
ESPN said the 2021 tournament was watched by an average of 881,000 viewers during US prime time, up 33 per cent from last year’s 662,000, as well as recording a 13 per cent increase for its entire two weeks of broadcast coverage, from 702,000 to 796,000.
The network provided a total of 153 hours of coverage via its ESPN and ESPN2 channels.
The USOpen.org website and the US Open app recorded 8.9 million visitors during the tournament.
A total of 631,134 spectators attended the two-week tournament, surpassing the previous record-setting attendance of 737,919 that was set in 2019.