The nearly three-hour match averaged 4.8 million viewers, making it the most-watched tennis match in ESPN’s 43-year history. Viewership peaked at 10:15 pm, his hour of fifteen minutes into the final set of the match, with 6.9 million viewers.
Thanks to her popularity, the primetime event became ESPN’s most-watched program of the day in both “total broadcast and cable network viewership,” surpassing several college football games.
Williams, a 23-time Grand Slam singles champion, lost in the third round to Australia’s Ajra Tomljanovic last Friday. After the match, Williams was asked if he would reconsider his retirement from tennis.”I don’t think so, but you don’t know.
ESPN notes that the Williams-Tomljanovic showdown smashed the previous record for tennis viewership when 3.9 million watched the 2012 Wimbledon final between Roger Federer and Andy Murray.
Williams’ presence had a halo effect on ESPN’s first week ratings of the US Open. ESPN and ESPN2 ratings are up more than 100% in his first five days of tennis’ Grand Slam compared to 2021. Her Grand Slam of Tennis featured a doubles match between Serena and her sister Venus.
The first two games of the first week of the US Open also received higher than usual ratings on ESPN. Her second round win over Annette Kontaveit averaged 3.6 million viewers, and her opening night match in which she defeated Danka Kobinic averaged 2.7 million viewers.