MELBOURNE, February 20, 2021 (AO Press Release)
The world will tune in this weekend for the Australian Open men’s and women’s finals, especially in the key broadcast markets of Japan, North America, China and Europe.
The four finalists Naomi Osaka, Jennifer Brady, Novak Djokovic and Daniil Medvedev will drive significant broadcast audience growth in their home countries Japan, United States, Serbia and Russia.
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) February 20, 2021
“We’re anticipating a major uplift in global broadcast viewership for the last two days of Australian Open 2021,” Tennis Australia Chief Revenue Officer Ben Slack said.
“If 2019 is anything to go by, we know that Naomi will attract a huge audience especially in Japan where her win over Petra Kvitova saw more than 20 million viewers tune in.”
The delayed start to this year’s tournament has led to extra competition from other events such as the Super Bowl and the start of the regular ratings season in Australia.
Despite this, Australian broadcast partner Nine has dominated ratings for the last fortnight, with last Friday’s third round match between Nick Kyrgios and Austrian Dominic Thiem the highest watched non-news program of 2021.
“At a time when domestic travel has been difficult, tennis fans across the nation have been able to tune into watch 41 Aussies compete at this year’s tournament led by Ash, Nick and Dylan competing against the international superstars,” Tennis Australia Chief of Corporate Affairs and Communications Darren Pearce said.
Globally, tennis fans who have been starved of world class tennis have grabbed the opportunity to see the top players compete in front of crowds and enjoy comprehensive coverage of their stories on and off the court across multiple platforms. The early figures in all markets have borne this out -especially Europe and China.
“The effect on fans around the world being able to enjoy world-class tennis from the safety of their loungerooms at the height of the pandemic cannot be underestimated. This is surely a major boost of hope for a way out of this,” Pearce said.
“Knowing the limitations on attending the event in person, it has been more important than ever this year to take the fan on the complete journey and provide more opportunities to engage with the stars of the game through the screen.”
Broadcast Innovations at AO 2021:
- More than 150 cameras around the site give fans more access than ever before
- The launch of the AO Director’s Chair which uses 360° immersive technology via the Oculus Quest headset to let you choose from 12 camera angles inside Rod Laver Arena
- Augmented Reality graphics and integrated broadcast statistics from the Game Insight Group including the new AO and Personal Record
- Crowd sounds and stadium dressing during the five-day lockdown
- The AO Media team has produced more than 315 content pieces which have been downloaded by broadcasters 4780+ times – up 22% on 2020.
AO 2019 Women’s Final between Naomi Osaka and Petra Kvitova:
- With an average viewership of 24.00 TV household rating points on NHK alone, the last 75 minutes on NHK-1 averaged 32.30 rating points, and dominated with a record 45% market share.
- The peak minute, at 8:29pm local Japan time, coincided with Osaka’s speech at the trophy presentation, and reached a 38.50 rating point, or circa 22.5 million viewers, equivalent to almost the entire population of Australia.
- Globally it drew a viewership of 78 million hours viewed (from 3 sets) – just short of Roger and Rafa’s epic 2017 final of 82 million (5 sets).
- It was the most watched sports program of 2009 to Jan 2019 to take place outside of Japan
- It had a higher average audience than any Olympics event, even higher than the 2008 Beijing Opening Ceremony
- Viewership was nearly twice as high as the most watched Grand Sumo broadcast of the 2019 AO fortnight.
Domestic (Days 1-12):
- Nine’s coverage of the Australian Open has so far attracted more than 10.68 million viewers despite the move to February
- Nick Kyrgios’ five-set loss to Austrian Dominic Thiem was the highest watched non-news program of 2021 with a national peak of 1.8 million and average audience of 1.27 million
- Nine has consistently won the ratings each night of the Australian Open
- More than 54.5 million hours have been viewed across all sessions over the first 12 days
- Cumulatively more than 216.7 million minutes have been streamed online via 9now – 154.9 million of these have been simulcast.
Europe (Days 1-7):
- Eurosport has produced localised coverage in nine European territories and 20 languages
- Top 11 markets: Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Denmark, UK, Netherlands, Romania, Poland. The Australian Open is available to watch on discovery+ and Eurosport 2 in Norway
- Eurosport’s live coverage of the Australian Open has been complemented by best-in-class storytelling across its digital platforms. Fans visiting local Eurosport websites have driven triple-digit increases (unique visitors versus 2020) in Germany (+158%), Italy (+137%) and the UK (+223%), where users have caught up with the latest news from Melbourne Park and followed the thoughts of Eurosport’s team of tennis experts throughout the tournament
- Similarly healthy increases have been seen on Eurosport’s web platforms in Romania (+56), Spain (+47%), Norway (+46%) and Sweden (+32%). This has been part of an 81% increase in unique users across Eurosport’s top 11 markets spanning the first seven days of the tournament
- Across its top 11 markets in Europe, Eurosport’s coverage on its linear channels reported significant double-digit uplift in average audience numbers versus 2020 with Eurosport 1 and Eurosport 2 registering a 41% and 28% increase respectively
- The success of local heroes at the Australian Open has once again played an important part in strong audience numbers with Poland reporting a triple-figure increase (+276%) owing to the performances of the 2019 French Open champion, teenager Iga Swiatek
- Romanian (+66% versus 2020), German (+42%) and Spanish (+33%) audiences all tuned in huge numbers to watch Eurosport’s coverage featuring the likes of Simona Halep, Alex Zverev and Rafa Nadal supplemented by world-class expert analysis from Boris Becker, Mats Wilander and Tim Henman from the mixed-reality, award-winning Cube studio.
- Airing directly opposite the Super Bowl, night one of tennis’ Australian Open averaged 171,000 viewers on ESPN (including a 40-minute ESPN2 simulcast) — up 122% from ESPN’s Super Bowl counter-programming last year (77K).
- 24hr television coverage in the US, with all matches available live across the ESPN network and the Tennis Channel
- ESPN began its coverage in the US with all of Serena Williams matches at 9pm US ET from round one to four.
- In China, coverage hours have increased by 91.7% on 2020 across the first nine days of the tournament to 75hrs 5min.
- Hours viewed on CCTV-5 across Days 1-9 are +6.1% YOY, to 49 million
- Across the first week of AO 2021, Chinese hours viewed (37.6m) exceeded that of Australia’s (35.2m)
- Sony India doing Hindi commentary every night session for the first time, after doing the semi-finals and finals last year, and will be showing the Men’s and Women’s Finals on DD Sports (FTA)
- In Japan, NHK showed Osaka’s quarterfinal live on their primary channel; WOWOW are also streaming live practice for the first time.