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Wednesday, July 24, 2024
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Serena Delivers ESPN’s Most-Watched Tennis Telecast Ever

  • Williams’ third-round Match Averged 4.6M Viewers
  • Friday night’s telecast peaked at 6.9M Viewers.
Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Serena Williams will never be forgotten. Especially by ESPN, which reaped huge TV ratings for the tennis legend’s likely farewell run in the U.S. Open.

What could have been the 23-time Grand Slam winner’s swan song generated the most-watched tennis telecast in ESPN’s 43-year history on Friday night.

Williams’ third-round loss to Ajla Tomljanovic averaged 4.6 million viewers. That’s up 18% from ESPN’s previous record of 3.9 million in 2012 for the men’s final between Roger Federer and Andy Murray. 

During ESPN’s primetime coverage, the 40-year-old Williams’ match alone averaged 4.8 million viewers from 7:15-10:30 p.m. ET. 

It peaked with 6.9 million viewers in the 10:15 p.m. ET quarter-hour.

To put that in perspective, ESPN’s smash hit Michael Jordan documentary, “The Last Dance,” averaged 5.6 million viewers. ABC/ESPN’s coverage of the 2022 Stanley Cup Final averaged 4.6 million viewers. More:

  • ESPN’s coverage delivered the most-viewed telecast of the day for broadcast and cable networks among total viewers as well as multiple advertiser demos. 
  • ESPN averaged 1.1M viewers during the first five days of U.S. Open coverage, up 101% from last year — the most-viewed first five days on record for ESPN networks.
  • On ESPN+, U.S. Open coverage has delivered 622K unique viewers and 58.6M minutes — up 65% and 72% vs. the comparable five-day period in 2021.

From Wednesday through Friday, ESPN will cover the men’s and women’s quarterfinals and Semifinals.

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