Australian Open Women's Final Sets Ratings Record
Oz Open Women's Final Sets Ratings Record For ESPN2
The ceiling was closed above Rod Laver Arena, but the ratings went through the roof. The Australian Open's clash of champions created a ratings record for ESPN2. Unseeded Serena Williams' 6-1, 6-2 comprehensive conquest of top-seeded Maria Sharapova in the Oz Open final was a historic telecast for the Grand Slam network.
The final was the highest-rated and most watched tennis telecast in ESPN2 history. The match, which started at 9:30 p.m. Eastern time on Friday night, registered a 1.9 rating, drawing an average 1,715,000 homes, which was double the audience and ratings for the 2006 final between Amelie Mauresmo and Justine Henin-Hardenne. The 2006 women's final drew a 0.9 rating and average 839,000 homes.
The previous top tennis telecast in ESPN2 history was the 2005 women's final in which Serena Williams beat Lindsay Davenport. That match was seen in an average 1,350,000 million homes and drew a 1.5 rating.
Despite the fact it lasted just 63 minutes, the Williams-Sharapova final, featuring two of the most widely-recognized players in the sport, set a ratings record for ESPN2. Only five other matches on ESPN — various Australian Open finals and the 1996 Miami final, which benefitted from a rain delay in drawing viewers who had tuned in for a NASCAR race scheduled for the same time slot — drew larger audiences than the Williams-Sharapova final.