Tennis sensation, Coco Gauff, shone brightly at the 2023 US Open, not just by clinching her first Grand Slam title, but also by setting a new viewership record for Disney owned ESPN. Her finals match against Aryna Sabalenka attracted an impressive 3.4 million viewers, a milestone that surpassed the viewership for the men’s final and marked a significant moment for women’s sports.
The Breakdown You Need To Know:
Gauff’s triumphant journey saw a record high for a women’s Grand Slam final on ESPN, exceeding the viewership for the men’s final by over a million viewers. With her win she secured a $3 million dollar paycheck, and perhaps even more lucrative endorsement deals on the horizon.
The tennis star’s victory was a momentous occasion, marking the first time an American has won the US Open since 2017. Gauff’s spectacular performance also resulted in a 92% increase in viewership compared to the previous year’s women’s final between Iga Świątek and Ons Jabeur.
ESPN benefited immensely from Gauff’s landmark victory. The women’s and men’s final combined averaged 2.8 million viewers, a significant 40% increase from the previous year, according to ESPN. This is the second-highest total viewership for the tournament, falling just behind 2019.
This women’s final wasn’t just a hit on TV, it also dominated digital platforms, becoming the most-streamed match of the tournament. It’s clear that Gauff’s appeal transcends the traditional mediums, reaching a younger, digitally-savvy audience.
ESPN Serves Ratings Success:
Gauff’s victory and the thrilling second week of college football helped ESPN become the most-watched cable channel for the week, displacing Fox News from its long-standing top spot. With an average viewership of 1.04 million and a prime-time viewership of 2.9 million, ESPN dominated the ratings.
In contrast, Fox News had an average viewership of a million, followed by MSNBC with 698,000 viewers and CNN-owned HLN with 574,000. Fox News averaged 1.5 million prime-time viewers to MSNBC’s 992,000, according to SportsTVRatings.
Impressive viewership numbers for her US Open Finals matches send a powerful message about the potential of women’s sports. They demonstrate that there is a substantial audience eager to support and celebrate women athletes, their achievements, and their stories. This can serve as a catalyst for increased investment in women’s sports across the board, from media coverage to sponsorship deals.
Increased viewership translated into higher advertising revenue for ESPN, as brands clamored to associate themselves with the Gauff phenomenon. It not only helped ESPN financially but also positioned them as a network that champions women’s sports, fostering a more inclusive sports media landscape.
What’s Next: The significance of Gauff’s US Open Finals viewership numbers extends beyond the court, impacting ESPN, the world of tennis, and the broader landscape of women’s sports. Gauff’s strong finals ratings are not just a testament to her tennis prowess, but also a testament to the changing landscape of sports media. Her captivating journey has enriched ESPN and breathed new life into the world of tennis.