Story at a glance

  • 2.44 million viewers watched Emma Raducanu play Leylah Fernandez as opposed to the 2.05 million who watched Daniil Medvedev and Novak Djokovic face off in the U.S. Open tennis championships.
  • The women’s game was the most watched match that didn’t feature U.S. champion Serena Williams.
  • The strong figures speak to a growing public interest in women’s sports.

An average of 2.44 million viewers tuned into the U.S. Open women’s championships on Saturday featuring a historic battle between victor Emma Raducanu and Leylah Fernandez, beating the viewership of the men’s match, new ESPN data reports

The broadcast featuring the two teenage athletes peaked at 3.4 million viewers between 6 and 6:15 EST, which represents ESPN’s highest peak of the tournament and an increase of over 37 percent from last year when Naomi Osaka faced off against Victoria Azarenka. 

It broke records as the most-watched women’s final U.S. Open game that didn’t include Serena Williams since ESPN began televising the tournament. 

By comparison, the U.S. Open Men’s match between Daniil Medvedev and Novak Djokovic saw an average of 2.05 million viewers––amounting to a 17 percent decrease in average viewership from the women’s championship match.

These figures tout the continuing popularity of women’s sports among Americans. Top female athletes have used the strong public interest to advocate complete equity with their male counterparts. 

This was seen most notably with the celebrated U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team. After years of lobbying, the U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF) finally drafted identical contracts between men and women professional players. This means that women will enjoy the same pay and benefits their male counterparts have received for years. 

Published on Sep 15, 2021