via ESPN release:
US Open Brings ESPN2 its Most-Watched Tennis Telecast
Audience for Tournament Up 24% vs. 2008; ESPN2 Audience Triples
Last night’s US Open coverage on ESPN2 – the end of Melanie Oudin’s Cinderella run through the women’s field with a 6-2, 6-2 loss to #9 seed Caroline Wozniacki followed by five-time defending champ Roger Federer outlast #12 Robin Soderling 6-0, 6-3, 6-7, 7-6 – was the most-watched tennis telecast in the network’s history. An average of 1,754,000 homes (2,324,000 viewers – P2+) watched the 5+-hour program, based on a 1.8 household coverage. Also, it is ESPN2’s sixth-biggest audience of 2009 to date and its second-best tennis rating ever (1.9 for the 2007 Australian Open final in which Serena Williams defeated Maria Sharapova 6-1, 6-2).
It was the second straight night sports fans tuned to ESPN2 in record numbers for tennis. Wednesday’s audience broke the household record set 24 hours earlier, an average of 1,718,000 homes (2,128,000 viewers), based on a 1.7 rating. That evening’s telecast saw #2 Serena Williams oust #10 Flavia Pennetta 6-4, 6-3 and #3 Rafael Nadal outslug #13 Gael Monfils 6-7, 6-3, 6-1, 6-3. The previous record was the 2007 Australian Open final with 1,715,000 homes (2,199,000 viewers).
US Open to Date
Through eight days, ESPN2’s first-ever coverage of tennis’ US Open has averaged an audience 24% larger across the daily marathon telecasts (sometimes longer than 12 hours), up from an average of 677,000 households to 838,000, with larger increases for the key male demos – the audience of Men 18-34 is up 46% and Men 18-49 has risen 58%. ESPN2 is averaging a 0.7 US household rating for 86 hours (up 10% from the 78 hours scheduled due to late-running matches), up 16% from a 0.6 for 2008 to date. (The household coverage-area ratings are 0.8 and 0.7, respectively).
The audience growth is larger in prime time. ESPN2 has averaged a 1.0 US household rating, up 43% from 0.7, with an average of 1,163,000 homes, up 38% from 846,000. (The household coverage-area ratings are 1.2 and 0.9, respectively). Among Men 18-34, the increase in prime time is 46%, with a 63% rise for Men 18-49.
Compared to ESPN2’s programming for the same week last year, the daytime (1-7 p.m. ET) audience has more than tripled – an increase of 206%. In prime time (7-11 p.m.), the US Open has almost tripled the network’s audience with a rise of 181%.
Digital Usage on the Rise
During the US Open, the number of page views to the tennis section of ESPN.com have more than doubled the same period last year.
All Four Slams, All in One Place
With programming on ESPN Radio, ESPN360.com, ESPNEWS and more – in addition to ESPN2’s 100 hours during the two-week tournament – ESPN is completing a Grand Slam, presenting all four of the sport’s majors, which no U.S. network has ever done before, let alone in a single year.
ESPN2’s coverage of the US Open will conclude Sunday, Sept. 13, with Cliff Drysdale and Pam Shriver on the call for the Women’s Doubles live at 1 p.m. and a special two-hour edition of SportsCenter at 9 p.m. to review the finals and the entire tournament.
Date Time (ET) Event Network Fri, Sept 11 Noon-2 p.m. US Open Updates ESPNEWS Sun, Sept 13 1-3 p.m. Women’s Doubles Final ESPN2 9-11 p.m. SportsCenter at the US Open