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Sunday, July 21, 2024
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Serena Williams Quadruples ESPN’s Tennis TV Ratings

  • Tennis legend’s Monday night victory averaged 2.7 million viewers.
  • Williams returns to action Wednesday night on ESPN.
Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Serena Williams’ farewell tour in the U.S. Open is generating big TV ratings for ESPN.

ESPN’s coverage of Williams’ straight-sets victory over Danka Kovinic Monday night averaged 2.7 million viewers. 

That’s nearly four times the viewership ESPN earned in the comparable prime-time window in 2021. 

It sets the stage for another big TV number Wednesday night as Williams takes on No. 2 seed Anna Kontaveit under the lights at Arthur Ashe Stadium (7 p.m. ET).  

The frenzy surrounding the 23-time Grand Slam winner’s final tournament at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center generated enormous numbers all day for ESPN. All told, ESPN posted its best numbers since it began televising the U.S. Open in 2009.

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 — making it the most trafficked U.S. Opening Day on record.

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.

ESPN’s afternoon window from noon-7 p.m. ET averaged 626,000 viewers, up 44% from 2021. 

The combined total day average of 843,000 viewers was up 4% from the previous best of 819,000 in 2019.

On Wednesday, ESPN will begin coverage at noon ET and will cover second-round matches non-stop throughout the day.

Besides the 40-year-old Williams, players scheduled to be in action include 2012 champion Andy Murray and Americans Tommy Paul, Sebastian Korda, Madison Keys, and Shelby Rogers.

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