American fans were ecstatic to see Coco Gauff lift her maiden US Open trophy, with Novak Djokovic also making history, but a stunning Ash Barty detail has emerged after ESPN released its broadcast numbers. With a raucous crowd cheering her on, 19-year-old Gauff defeated World No.1 Aryna Sabalenka to secure her first grand slam title in front of an adoring home crowd.
A day later, Djokovic made tennis history having equalled Margaret Court's record of 24 titles in a close three-set battle against Daniil Medvedev. However, the number of Americans watching the US Open finals pale in comparison to how significance the events were for the sport of tennis.
Gauff's victory was watched on average by 3.2 million Americans, which is the most-viewed women's final watched on ESPN. In 2016 on CBS, Serena Williams defeating Victoria Azarenka reached a record 6.2 million viewers.
Gauff's home crowd advantage crushed the men's final numbers with Djokovic and Medvedev recording an average viewership of 2.3 million. The men's US Open final does compete with the NFL's return. While these numbers are very strong for US viewership, they pale in comparison to Australia's support for their own.
In 2022 when Barty won the Australian Open final against American Danielle Collins, an average of 3.6 million Aussies tuned in. The match hit a peak of 4.26 million viewers. To put this into perspective, Australia's population recently passed 26 million people.
The US population is around 340 million people. One fan pointed out that Channel Nine had better numbers than the US network for the 2022 Australian Open. Others were critical of the platform and US tennis viewership with other grand slams surpassing the final one of the year.
However, what both Gauff and Barty prove is women's tennis continues to excite and out perform the men's finals in man aspects both in Australia and the US. Tennis icon Billie Jean King made this point in calling for more investment in women's sport.
But encouraging only based on recent numbers. Consider that in 2013, when Serena beat Azarenka in USOpen final, viewership for women's final was nearly double at 6.2 million viewers
Nadal/Djokovic men's final that year was 3.4 million (on a Monday)
— Christopher Clarey 🇺🇸 🇫🇷 🇪🇸 (@christophclarey) September 13, 2023
The 2023 @usopen delivered record-setting numbers:
🎾 The Women's Singles Final was the most-viewed women's major tennis final ever on ESPN
🎾 The men's and women's championships averaged 2.8M viewers, up +40% from 2022.
Investing in women's sports is good business. https://t.co/fDzK1bIVb8
— Billie Jean King (@BillieJeanKing) September 13, 2023
Channel 9 down under with a population below 30 million get higher figures than that for AO.
— Ian Warren (@wazzamelbourne) September 13, 2023
Coverage and commentary leave a lot to be desired.
— Asbell Tennis (@tennis_baseline) September 13, 2023
Women’s final deservedly had far better ratings.
— Steve (@SteveFMilwaukee) September 13, 2023
Would have been interesting to see what TV numbers an Alcaraz/Djokovic final would have posted. Especially coming off the Wimbledon epic, I think the numbers would have been big.
— Michael James (@michaelatbat) September 13, 2023
lol . pathetic numbers really compared to roland garros, Wimbledon, and Australian open . the us open is the least watched event by percentage in its own nation . let alone globally . usta and espn partnership has done nothing to benefit tennis in the us . plain and simple
— Mahmoud (@Mahmoud17761) September 12, 2023
Coco Gauff stuns tennis world with maiden grand slam title
Gauff played the best match of her career to take down the in-form Sabalenka in front of a raucous home crowd. The 19-year-old showed experience to come from a set down to hold her nerve and win a breakthrough grand slam title.
And the moment felt surreal for the champion having previously come close to a grand slam title at the French Open final in 2022. "I feel like I'm in a little bit of shock at the moment," Gauff said after the match.
"I feel like God puts you through tribulations and trials and that makes this even sweeter," the American said. "I'm thankful for this moment. I don't have any words."
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