Audience for Tournament Up 20% vs. 2008; ESPN2 Notches Two Biggest Tennis Audiences in its History
ESPN2’s first-ever coverage of tennis’ US Open was the TV equivalent of an overhead smash at the net – an average audience 20% larger across the daily marathon telecasts (sometimes longer than 12 hours, merging coverage of the day and night sessions, which often overlapped), up from an average of 689,000 households to 826,000. The increase for the key male demos was more dramatic – the audience of Men 18-34 was up 44% and Men 18-49 rose 57%. ESPN2 averaged a 0.7 US household rating, up 17% from a 0.6 for 2008. (The household coverage-area ratings are 0.8 and 0.7, respectively).
The audience growth was larger in prime time. ESPN2 averaged a 1.0 US household rating, up 25% from 0.8, with an average of 1,162,000 homes, up 33% from 874,000. (The household coverage-area ratings were 1.2 and 0.9, respectively). Among Men 18-34, the increase in prime time was 43%, with a 60% rise for Men 18-49.
ESPN2’s Two Most-Watched Tennis Telecasts
During the US Open, ESPN2 posted its two most-watched tennis telecasts. The prime-time telecast Wednesday, Sept. 9 – the end of Melanie Oudin’s Cinderella run through the women’s field with a 6-2, 6-2 loss to #9 seed Caroline Wozniacki followed by five-time defending champ Roger Federer outlasting #12 Robin Soderling 6-0, 6-3, 6-7, 7-6 – is the most-watched tennis telecast in the network’s history. An average of 1,754,000 homes (2,324,000 viewers – P2+) watched the 5+-hour program, based on a 1.8 household coverage rating.
That record audience broke the previous mark, which stood for only 24 hours – an average of 1,718,000 homes (2,128,000 viewers), based on a 1.7 rating. That evening’s telecast saw #2 Serena Williams oust #10 Flavia Pennetta 6-4, 6-3 and #3 Rafael Nadal outslug #13 Gael Monfils 6-7, 6-3, 6-1, 6-3. The previous record was the 2007 Australian Open final with 1,715,000 homes (2,199,000 viewers, Serena Williams defeated Maria Sharapova 6-1, 6-2).
Also, the Sept. 9 telecast is ESPN2’s sixth-biggest audience of 2009 to date and its second-best tennis rating ever (1.9 for the 2007 Australian Open final).
During the US Open, page views to ESPN.com’s Tennis section were up 62% from last year’s tournament.
All Four Slams, All in One Place
With ESPN2’s 98 hours of live action during the two-week US Open (114 total hours) – in addition to content on ESPN Radio, ESPN360.com, ESPNEWS and more, ESPN completed a Grand Slam, presenting all four of the sport’s majors, which no U.S. network has ever done before, let alone in a single year.