The first all-teenage final at a Grand Slam since 1999 was a hot draw for ESPN. By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Tuesday September 14, 2021
ESPN’s coverage of the 2021 US Open peaked ruing the women’s singles final between Emma Raducanu and Leylah Fernandez, reaching a tournament high of 3.4 million viewers at one point.
It was the most-watched women’s final of the seven that ESPN has televised since acquiring rights to broadcast the tournament exclusively in the U.S.
The men’s singles final, which saw Daniil Medvedev end Novak Djokovic’s bid for the Calendar Year Grand Slam, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 on Sunday, peaked at 2.7 million viewers.
Below is a press release from ESPN about their coverage of the tournament:
The 2021 US Open in New York averaged 881,000 viewers in prime time, up 33% (from 662,000) over last year, and it was up 13% (from an average of 702,000 to 796,000) for the entire two weeks of telecasts. Coverage totaled 153 hours across ESPN and ESPN2, an increase of 15% over the 133 that had been scheduled.
This past weekend’s women’s and men’s championships – both featuring historic storylines – each enjoyed large increases over 2020.
Women’s Championship: Fernandez vs. Raducanu
Saturday’s women’s final between unheralded teenagers Emma Raducanu and Leylah Fernandez – the first Major final, male or female, with two unseeded players in the Open Era (since 1968) – averaged 2.44 million viewers. That represents an increase of 37% over last year (Victoria Azarenka vs. Naomi Osaka).
The match peaked at 3.4 million viewers at 6-6:15 p.m. ET, ESPN’s highest peak of the tournament.
It is the most-watched women’s final of the seven ESPN has televised since acquiring US Open exclusivity in 2015 that did not include Serena Williams (2018, 2019).
Raducanu – the first man or woman to reach a Major final having come through qualifying – defeated Fernandez 6-4, 6-3.
Men’s Championship: Djokovic vs. Medvedev
The men’s final featured the first attempt by a man to win the Grand Slam – capturing all four Major crowns in one calendar year – since Rod Laver in 1969. Top-seeded Novak Djokovic was also seeking sole ownership of the record for career Majors won by a man, currently a tie at 20 with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
His match against #2 Daniil Medvedev averaged 2.05 million viewers, up 37% from a year ago. It peaked at 2.7 million viewers at 6:15-30 p.m.
Medvedev won his first Major title in denying Djokovic his place in history with a straight sets win – 6-4, 6-4, 6-4.
The Men’s Semifinals – now split into an afternoon match (Felix Auger-Aliassime vs. Daniil Medvedev) and one in prime time (Novak Djokovic vs. Alexander Zverev) – combined to average 1.3 million viewers. That represents an increase of 46% over 2020.