The audience for tennis’ first Major of 2019, the Australian Open, was up 27% across ESPN and ESPN2 compared to the 2018 event. The live coverage averaged 347,000 viewers (P2+), up from 274,000.
Among demo groups, leading the way were increases for viewers 55+ (up 35%), viewers 25-54 (up 25%) and viewers 18-49 (up 10%).
The most-viewed telecast from Melbourne came Tuesday, Jan. 22, at 9 p.m. ET. That six-hour window – which included Karolina Pliskova’s shocking third-set comeback victory over Serena Williams – averaged 631,000 viewers. The telecast peaked with 1,366,000 viewers from 11-11:15 p.m., the end of that match. It also out-drew any telecast last year except the men’s final.
Overall, 19 of the 25 live telecast windows showed improvement over 2018, including the women’s final. The three-set victory by Naomi Osaka – her second consecutive Major win, following her taking the US Open last September – over Petra Kvitova was seen by an average of 529,000 viewers. That represents an increase of 18% over last year’s championship (450,000). Both matches started at 3:30 a.m.
“Bonus Coverage” adds 14% to Schedule
ESPN and ESPN2 combined to air nearly 125 live hours of action from Melbourne, an increase of 14% from the scheduled 109.5 hours, thanks to long-running matches extending the telecast windows in the morning hours.