· Compelling Tennis, Controversy Drive Rating up 32% vs. 2017’s All-American Final
ESPN’s presentation of the US Open Women’s Championship – Naomi Osaka, just 20, shocking the legendary Serena Williams 6-2, 6-4 with action on and off the court as controversy engulfed the second set – posted a 2.5 rating for the match itself and a 2.4 for the full three-hour telecast.
The rating for the compelling matchup of newcomer challenging her childhood idol is tied for the second-highest in ESPN’s entire US Open history (225 telecasts starting in 2009, exclusivity since 2015) with the 2015 Men’s Championship (Novak Djokovic vs. Roger Federer). The only higher overnight rating, a 2.7, was a prime-time 2015 window of quarterfinal action that included Serena playing her sister Venus and Novak Djokovic vs. Feliciano Lopez.
The 2.4 overnight rating is up 32% from last year (1.9 for Sloane Stephens and Madison Keys of the U.S.) and 79% higher than 2016 (1.4 for Angelique Kerber vs. Karolina Pliskova).
Last night’s rating peaked in the final quarter hour of the match (5:30 – 5:45 p.m. ET) at a 3.3.
The five highest-rated markets were West Palm Beach (6.0), Washington DC (5.5), Richmond (5.1), New York (4.5) and Norfolk (3.8).
ESPN and Tennis
Tennis has been part of ESPN since its first week on the air, providing numerous memorable moments from around the world, but it has never been as important as today, with the unprecedented position of presenting three of the sports Major events from start to finish (Australian Open, Wimbledon, US Open, with exclusivity at the latter two.