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
- 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
- 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.
- 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.