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Serena Williams’ 2022 US Open first-round match delivers massive numbers and helps earn ratings boost on ESPN

Jason Burgos
serena williams, us open
Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Women’s tennis legend Serena Williams and her first match at the 2022 US Open helped to bring ESPN some of the best ratings it has ever had since getting exclusive broadcast rights to the grand slam tournament in 2015.

Williams is the major story in tennis right now. And not just on the lady’s side of the sport, but for the entire industry since this year’s US Open could be her professional tournament in what has been a once-in-a-generation career. While the 40-year-old has not officially claimed that the 2022 Open is her final event, all indications point to this being the end of the line for the player currently ranked 605 in the world.

Related: Serena Williams retirement – Historical accomplishments, net worth, and lasting legacy

It is why her opening-round matchup against Montenegro’s Danka Kovinic was an absolute happening at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, New York on Monday night. Bringing in tons of celebrities to watch what could be her final match. However, a new press release from ESPN revealed that the match featuring the owner of 23 grand slam titles was also a must-see event nationally for tennis aficionados.

Serena Williams’ first 2022 US Open match brings massive numbers to ESPN

serena williams, us open
Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Williams’ 6-3, 6-3 win earned an average of 2.7 million viewers on ESPN and peaked at 3.2 million sets of eyeballs from 9 to 9:15 PM ET. Overall, the network saw a massive jump in interest for the evening coverage of the event from 7 PM to 12 AM ET with an average of 1.7 million viewers. Which was an absurd 279% increase from last year and 40% higher than 2019.

Day-time coverage of the opening round of the US Open also offered up big numbers for ESPN. The section of the broadcast from 12 noon to 7 PM ET earned the network their best ratings since they earned exclusive rights to broadcast the event seven years ago. The afternoon and early evening coverage earned an average of 626,000 views with was a 41% bump over the opening round of the 2021 US Open.

Second-round coverage of the US 2022 Open, which will see Williams face off with Estonia’s Anett Kontaveit, will begin Wednesday at 11 AM ET.