Serena’s Swan Song – ESPN’s Most-Watched Tennis Telecast on Record

Serena's Swan Song - ESPN's Most-Watched Tennis Telecast on Record

4.8 Million Viewers for Williams vs. Tomljanovich, Peaked at 6.9 Million

Tonight on ESPN: Coco Gauff vs. Caroline Garcia, Nick Kyrgios vs. Karen Khachanov

Wednesday: Noon ET- Pliskova vs. Sabalenka, Rublev vs. Tiafoe

7 p.m. ET- Swiatek vs. Pegula, Sinner vs. Alcaraz

Friday’s US Open Third Round match on ESPN – apparently the last in the remarkable career of Serena Williams, as she lost to Ajla Tomljanovich of Australia 7-5, 6-7, 6-1 – is the most-watched tennis telecast on record in ESPN’s 43-year history. An average of 4.6 million viewers (P2+) tuned in for the telecast from Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York. The previous record of 3.9 million was for the 2012 Wimbledon Gentlemen’s Championship, when Roger Federer defeated Andy Murray, in ESPN’s first year with exclusivity and first-ball-to-last-ball coverage from London.

The Primetime telecast on ESPN was the best ESPN tennis telecast on record and was the most viewed telecast of the day for broadcast and cable networks in total viewers and all key male and person demos. Serena’s match 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.

Through the first five days of the US Open, 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.

On ESPN+, US Open coverage has to date delivered 622,000 unique viewers and 58.6 million minutes, up +65% and +72% versus 2021 through Day 5.

Other US Open Viewership Highlights

Day Four

· ESPN2’s Primetime coverage of the Williams sisters’ doubles match was the third most-viewed Third Round telecast ever on ESPN networks

· The match averaged 2.2 million viewers

Day Three

· On Wednesday, Aug. 31, Williams’ second-round victory over Anett Kontaveit averaged 3.6 million viewers and peaked with five million.

· The entire prime-time telecast averaged 2.3 million, up 289% from last year and is No. 10 on the list of ESPN’s most-watched US Open telecasts of all time.

· That night, ESPN led all networks – broadcast or cable – in delivering both Men and Adults in the demo groups 18-34, 18-49 and 25-54. The network placed second for households and P2+.

· That day’s entire 12.5 hours of matches averaged 1.4 million people, the largest for any ESPN US Open early round (Rounds 1-3) telecast.

Opening Day

· Monday, Aug. 29, was ESPN’s most-watched opening-day and opening day prime-time US Open telecast ever. The evening doubleheader averaged 1.7 million, up 279% from 2021 and 40% higher than the previous high in 2019. The first match in that window, Williams defeating Danka Kovinic in the first round, averaged 2.7 million fans.

· The audience that day for the entire 12 hours of coverage was ESPN’s largest for a US Open opening day, an average of 843,000 viewers.


Tonight on ESPN:

· 7 p.m.: No. 12 Coco Gauff vs. No. 17 Caroline Garcia

· Followed by No. 23 Nick Kyrgios – who bounced No. 1 seed and defending champion Daniil Medvedev on Sunday – vs. No. 27 Karen Khachanov

Wednesday on ESPN:

· Noon ET: No. 22 Karolina Pliskova vs. No. 6 Aryna Sabalenka

· Then No. 9 Andrey Rublev vs. No. 22 Frances Tiafoe of Maryland, who eliminated No. 2 Rafael Nadal on Monday

· 7 p.m.: No. 1 Iga Swiatek vs. American No. 8 Jessica Pegula

· Followed by No. 3 Carlos Alcaraz vs. No. 11 Jannik Sinner

2022 US Open Programming

Date Time (ET) Network(s) Event

Mon Aug 29 – Thurs Sept 8 11 a.m. ESPN+, ESPN3 Up to 16 courts in action

Friday Sept 9, Sunday Sept 11 Noon ESPN+, ESPN3 Up to 8 courts in action

Tue Sept 6 7 p.m. ESPN Primetime at the US Open presented by IBM – Quarterfinals

Wed Sept 7 Noon ESPN ESPN Deportes Quarterfinals 7 p.m. ESPN Primetime at the US Open presented by IBM – Quarterfinals ESPN Deportes Quarterfinals

Thu Sept 8 7 p.m. ESPN Women’s Semifinals Coverage presented by Fidelity Wealth Management ESPN Deportes Women’s Semifinals

Fri Sept 9 3 a.m. ESPN2 Women’s Semifinals (Encore) Noon Men’s Doubles Championship 3 p.m. ESPN Men’s Semifinals Coverage presented by Fidelity Wealth Management 7 p.m. ESPN Deportes Men’s Semifinals


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