Serena Williams’ farewell tour during the U.S. Open is generating big TV ratings for ESPN.
The Worldwide Leader’s coverage of Williams’ straight-sets victory over Danka Kovinic on Monday night averaged 2.7 million viewers — nearly four times the viewership ESPN earned in the comparable primetime window in 2021.
It sets the stage for another big number Wednesday night as Williams takes on No. 2 seed Anna Kontaveit.
The frenzy surrounding the 23-time Grand Slam winner’s expected final tournament at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center generated enormous numbers all day for ESPN.
- Viewership for Williams’ Monday night match peaked at 3.2 million between 9-9:15 p.m. ET. ESPN Digital Properties totaled 2 million unique users — the most-trafficked first day of a U.S. Open.
- ESPN averaged a record 1.7 million viewers for “Primetime at the US Open presented by IBM” from 7 p.m.-12:03 a.m. ET. — up 279% from last year and 40% from the previous high in 2019.
- The combined total day average of 843,000 viewers was up 4% from the previous U.S. Open best of 819,000 in 2019.
ESPN signed an 11-year, $770 million deal with USTA in 2013 for broadcasting rights to the U.S. Open. CBS, which held the rights for more than 45 years, had turned down a deal reportedly worth an annual $30 million.