Andy Murray’s historic victory at Wimbledon on Sunday netted ESPN its second-largest tennis audience.
The No.2-seed Murray, a Scotsman, defeated world No. 1 Novak Djokovic to end Great Britain’s 77-year drought at The Championships as ESPN’s coverage averaged a 1.7 rating and 2.46 million viewers on July 7, according to Nielsen Fast National data.
ESPN’s telecast of Murray’s win, which finally pushed Fred Perry off the page as the last Brit to win the prestigious grass court tournament in 1936, peaked at a 2.8 rating from noon to 12:30 p.m. (ET).
Among all of ESPN’s tennis telecasts – the programmer has been airing the sport since just days after its inception in 1979 -- Murray-Djokovic trailed only the 3.93 million who saw last year’s Wimbledon final. Compared to the Roger Federer-Murray title match in 2012, yesterday’s telecast was down 32% in ratings from a 2.5 and 37% in viewership.
Saturday’s telecast of the Ladies’ Championship – No. 15 Marion Bartoli won her first major title over No. 23 Sabine Lisicki 6-1, 6-4 – plus the Gentlemen’s Doubles Championship – American’s Bob and Mike Bryan garnered their 15th major and fourth in a row – averaged a 0.9 rating and 1.3 million viewers, respective declines of 44% and 42% from a 1.6 and 2.2 million watchers last year, highlighted by American Serena Williams lifting the Venus Rosewater Dish in triumph.
Nevertheless, the five-hour telecast on July 7 now stands as ESPN's fifth-largest audience with the racquet sport. ESPN, which acquired exclusive U.S. television rights to the famous fortnight for 12 years starting with the 2012 tourney, has registered its five largest tennis’ audiences during the last two Championships (see chart below).
As to Bartoli-Lisicki match itself, the contest notched a 1.3 rating and 1.9 million viewers, down 35% from the 2.0 for Williams-Agnieszka Radwanska. Viewership was not available for last year’s match window
With early-round upsets and/or injuries that claimed such top players as Rafa Nadal, Maria Sharapova, Victoria Azarenka, Jo Wilifred Tsonga and the defending champions Federer and Williams, ESPN and ESPN2 saw their overall averages drop 14% to a 0.6 U.S. rating from a 0.7 and 15% to 835,000 viewers from 981,000 in 2012, which was the cable programmer's first exclusive year with the fortnight. The 2011 tournament, the last in which NBC was in the game along with ESPN2, also averaged a 0.7 U.S. rating.
Digitally, ESPN chalked up gains with Wimbledon. Usage of the WatchESPN app on smartphones and tablets throughout the entire tournament was up 274% in live minutes viewed. Additionally, the average number of daily viewers grew 89%, while minutes per viewer via the app more than doubled, up 110%
For WatchESPN and ESPN3, the strongest day of the tournament was Friday, July 5, logging 16 million live minutes viewed across computers, smartphones, tablets, Xbox and Apple TV.
Across the two weeks of the tournament, ESPN.com Tennis video starts were up eight percent at 2.1 million. Additionally, average daily traffic to the Tennis card on the ScoreCenter app during the tournament more than doubled in unique viewers (up 138 percent) and visits (up 118 percent). Usage nearly tripled in minutes (up 195 percent) and average minute audience (up 195 percent).
Event (all Wimbledon)
Sun, July 8, 2012
Sun, July 7, 2013
Sat, July 7, 2012
Ladies’ Championship Gentlemen’s Doubles Championship Ladies’ Doubles Championship
Fri, July 6, 2012
Sat, July 6, 2013
Ladies’ Championship Gentlemens’ Doubles Championship