Australian Open Smashes TV Ratings Records Around The World

MELBOURNE, February 4, 2017

Australian Open 2017 has smashed TV ratings records both in Australia and around the world. 

On Sunday night (29 January), more than 3.5 million people in Australia tuned in to watch the historic final between Roger Federer (SUI) and Rafael Nadal (ESP), with the audience peaking at 4.4m and making it the most watched Australian Open match in more than  a decade, beating the combined shares on Channel Nine, Network 10, ABC and SBS.

The men’s singles final also topped the AFL and NRL 2016 grand finals in audience viewership, stealing the NRL’s title as the most watched final in Australia, with 9.63 million hours viewed.

Serena Williams’ seventh Australian Open victory in the women’s final delivered a peak domestic TV audience of 2.42 million, and was the most watched program that day, beating men’s Big Bash Cricket final by 360,000 combined viewers.

Around the world  both ESPN USA and Eurosport celebrated record figures, with the men’s final dubbed the most-watched tennis match of all time by Eurosport, while the Williams sisters spectacular drew the biggest AO women’s audience on ESPN since moving to a 3.00am ET start time

Australian Open Tournament Director Craig Tiley said he was pleased, but t not surprised, by the record ratings.

“The numbers speak for themselves, people love great tennis”, Tiley said.

“We witnessed history on Saturday and Sunday night. Serena and Venus in the ultimate showdown, 14 years since they last played each other at Melbourne Park, and Roger and Rafa, two legends with a compelling comeback story that is unprecedented.

“Through theTennis Australia in-househost broadcast and production teams, we will continue to ensure that world class tennis is produced to a high standard and available to all, both here in Australia and around the world.  it’s historic moments such as these that capture the imagination of the sporting world,” Australian Open Tournament Director Craig Tiley said.

Australian Open 2017 domestic broadcast ratings statistics:

*       Broadcast reached 6.5m viewers nationally on final day, taking cumulative reach to 11.8m for tournament

*       The men’s singles final claimed Channel Seven the No. 1 network with54.5% FTA metro share at night, beating the combined shares on Networks Nine, TEN, ABC and SBS

*       Men’s singles final ranked the most watched program on the night, taking top spot for 2017 YTD

*       Men’s Final averaged 3.6m combined (metro + regional) and peaked at4.4m, making it the most watched finals match in over a decade

*       Men’s singles final match was up 63% year-on-year  for combined (metro + regional) viewing, and up 64% for metro markets

*       The men’s singles final beat both the AFL and NRL 2016 grand finals in audience viewership, with an 81% audience increase over the 2016 NRL grand final and a 19% audience increase over the 2016 AFL grand final, making Federer and Nadal’s match the most watched Australian final with 9.63 million hours viewed

*       At 3hrs 38min, the Roger / Rafa match lasted nearly twice as long as the NRL grand final (2hrs), and 1hr more than the AFL grand final

*       The final showdown between the Williams sisters made Seven the No.1 network with a 31.8% free-to-air metro share at night (Nine 23.0%, TEN 24.0%)

*       Serena Williams’ seventh Australian Open victory in the women’s final delivered a peak domestic TV audience of 2.42 million, and was the most watched program that day, beating men’s Big Bash Cricket final by 360,000 combined viewers

*       A peak domestic TV audience of 2.1 million tuned into Rafael Nadal’s semifinal victory over Grigor Dimitrov while a peak of 2.2 million tuned into watch Roger Federer play Stan Wawrinka in the other men’s semifinal.

Australian Open 2017 international broadcast ratings statistics:

*              The men’s singles final was aired live in more than 220 territories on more than 65 different TV channels, reaching more than 900 million homes

*              The men’s singles final was the most watched Australian Open men’s final in 13 years in the US on ESPN, with an average 1.13m viewers betweenESPN (1.085m) and WatchESPN (48k) from 3.00AM ET – 107% up on 2016

*              In Europe, the men’s singles final was Eurosport’s highest rating tennis match of all-time and second most watched sport event in Eurosport’s history, reaching 20.7m via Eurosport and Discovery-owned Free-to-Air channels. It was the most-watched Eurosport programme in both Spain and the Netherlands

*              The women’s singles final had an average 953,000 viewers on ESPN, up 37% on 2016 and attracted the biggest AO women’s audience since moving to a 3.00am ET start time. It was the second most watched sportprogramme of all programs aired on US cable TV that day

*              Eurosport’s audiences for the tournament were up 26% from 2016, including dedicated feeds into eleven countries including UK, France, Germany, Spain and Italy.

*              In the USA, live coverage on ESPN and ESPN2 ranked each day within the top five and top ten of the most watched live sports programs in the country

*              In Japan, Kei Nishikori’s matches were broadcast live by free-to-air broadcaster NHK and generated a market share of more than 20 per cent. It peaked higher than Japan’s most watched event, the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament

*              In China, up to Day 10, the main terrestrial channel CCTV5 reached more than  400 million households and aired more than 32 hours of coverage

*              All 411 main draw matches were streamed live to over 175 territoriesincluding, for the first time, China and Japan – a Grand Slam first.  In addition, the Tennis Australia media rights team delivered live encoded feeds of all match courts to selected broadcasters including Sky New Zealand, Fox Sports Asia, IQIYI China, Sony India and SuperSport Africa

*              SuperSport Africa and beIN Sports Middle East also took from BT Tower London the permanent host broadcast feeds of Rod Laver Arena and Margaret Court Arena for the entire tournament. Sportsnavi Live from Japan took, in addition, the Hisense Arena host broadcast feed whilst main draw matches were played.

Fast facts on Australian Open 2017 host broadcast

*       Tennis Australia’s Host Broadcast team produced more than 840 matches live, up from 641 in 2016, including all main draw, juniors, legends andwheelchair matches plus countless practice sessions

*      In its third year of managing the Australian Open host broadcast, Tennis Australia provided the most comprehensive broadcast coverage of any Grand Slam, including up to 16 match courts boasting coverage of all matches in all draws – including main draw singles, doubles, mixed doubles, juniors, qualifying, wheelchair and legends

*      The host broadcast team covered 12 practice courts – eight outside courts with dedicated cameras plus one camera inside across four indoor courts

*       In a first for any tennis tournament worldwide,  and any sporting event in Australia, Australian Open 2017 featured Hawkeye 4K Ultra Motion in all three stadiums

*      More than 130 individual host broadcast cameras across Melbourne Park captured all the action on and off the court more than previous years and more than  any other Grand Slam

*      Total 362 staff and freelance crew plus 20 talent working across the host broadcast and world feed productions on-site

*      Both the women’s and men’s singles finals featured access to 47 cameras – including three Extreme Slo Mo NAC cameras and seven Super Slo Mo cameras, an RF techno crane, Spidercam and the first-ever use of Eye Cam, a stadium lens embedded in the umpire’s chair, never before used in tennis coverage.