We have this from ESPN discussing the viewership both on TV and online for The Championships, Wimbledon. ESPN says the combined viewership for ESPN/ESPN2 is up 24% from when the cable portion of last year’s tournament on solely on ESPN2. And the rating is up this year averaging 0.6 from 0.5 last year.
ESPN says the younger male demographic is up from the time NBC/ESPN2 aired the fortnight in 2011. In addition, online viewership has jumped a whopping 86% from last year.
So ESPN is happy taking over the entire rights to Wimbledon from NBC. And I’m sure the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club is pleased that it’s not hearing complaints about tape delayed shenanigans.
Here’s the ESPN press release.
ESPN Sets Wimbledon Records, Young Male Audience Grows, Digital Usage Soars
Live Championships This Weekend Have History Calling
The all-new, all-ESPN, all live Wimbledon is reaching more people, has brought ESPN its largest audiences in 10 years at the All England Lawn Tennis Club and a much younger audience to the television while driving a surge in consumption across digital platforms.
- Through Wednesday, July 4, the audience for this year’s ESPN/ESPN2 presentation was 24 percent larger than ESPN2’s audience in 2011, 727,000 viewers (P2+), up from 588,000. The average rating is up 20 percent, from 0.5 to 0.6 (U.S. ratings), according to Nielsen.
- The ESPN/ESPN2 rating is equal to last year’s NBC/ESPN2 coverage, but the key male demographic groups are enjoying strong double-digit increases in impressions: Men 18-34 up 28 percent, Men 18-49 up 30 percent, and Men 25-54 up 21 percent.
- Two ESPN telecasts during the fortnight stand as ESPN’s most-watched ever from Wimbledon – 979,000 homes on Saturday, June 30 and 978,000 on Wednesday, July 4. Each earned a 1.0 coverage rating, tying ESPN’s best ever at Wimbledon. Two of the three previous 1.0 ratings also came on a July 4: ESPN2 on July 4, 2007, for the Ladies’ Quarterfinals; ESPN on July 4, 2003, for a Gentlemen’s Semifinal; and ESPN on July 1, 2004, for a Ladies’ Semifinal. Saturday’s 10-hour, 10-minute ESPN telecast (the third longest Wimbledon telecast ever, behind only an ESPN2 telecast in 2010 and Day One this year) – earned a 0.9 U.S. rating, the best for the “middle Saturday” since 2007 (1.0).
- Through Saturday, June 30, 19.2 million people had watched Wimbledon on ESPN or ESPN2, an increase of 32 percent compared to the same point a year ago (14.5 million).
- On Wednesday, July 4, the value of the ESPN / ESPN2 “Cross Court Coverage” was on display as both networks aired live matches, with ESPN2 airing nine hours and ESPN on the air for seven of those hours. The ESPN/ESPN2 combined rating was 1.0, up 43 percent from 0.7 for ESPN2/NBC last year. The audience was up 51 percent, to 1,354,000 viewers from 895,000. The key male demographic groups all more than doubled: Men 18-34 up 134 percent, Men 18-49 up 123 percent, and Men 25-54 up 122 percent.
Digital Usage Nearly Doubled
- Through July 4, ESPN3/WatchESPN has registered 72.1 million live minutes of viewing across all platforms, up 86 percent compared to the same point in 2011.
The Championships Conclude with History Beckoning
ESPN’s exclusive presentation of Wimbledon will culminate with a live national telecast of the Ladies’ Championship on Saturday, July 7, and the Gentlemen’s Championship on Sunday, July 8, both at 9 a.m. ET. Both will be preceded at 8 a.m. by the one-hour Breakfast at Wimbledon, hosted by Hannah Storm. ABC will reair the finals on the day they take place at 3 p.m.
All the action on ESPN is also available through WatchESPN online at WatchESPN.com and on smartphones and tablets via the WatchESPN app. ESPN3 and ESPN 3D will televise both Championships live. In addition, ESPN3 will stream all matches on Centre Court (starting at 9 a.m.) and No. 1 Court (starting at 8 a.m.), including the Gentlemen’s and Ladies’ Doubles Championships live and in their entirety following the Ladies’ Championship.
Both matches will offer potential historic outcomes:
- In the Ladies Championship, either a tennis legend will further elevate her legacy, or an emerging star will win her first Major and will become the top-ranked woman in the world. Serena Williams, the No. 6 seed, will be vying for her 14th Major title and fifth at Wimbledon, but her first since Wimbledon two years ago. Since then, a series of health issues derailed her career. On the other side of the net, No. 3 Agnieszka Radwanska is playing in her first Major final but will be the top-ranked player in the world with a win. She is the first Pole to play for the Wimbledon Championship since Jadwiga Jedrzejowska in 1937.
- In the Gentlemen’s Championship, either Roger Federer will gain his record-tying seventh crown at the All England Lawn Tennis Club, or a kingdom will celebrate the end of a 76-year drought. Andy Murray of Scotland carries the athletic hopes and dreams of Great Britain on his shoulders in his quest to be the first man from Great Britain to win the local tennis Major since Fred Perry in 1936. It has been almost as long since a British man has played in the final – Bunny Austin in 1938.
And ESPN previews Saturday’s Ladies’ Final between Serena Williams and Agnieszka Radwanska.
Radwanska in First Major Final; Serena Gunning for 14th Major but First in Two Years
When ESPN televises live the Wimbledon Ladies Championship on Saturday, July 7, at 9 a.m. ET, either a tennis legend will further elevate her legacy, or an emerging star will win her first Major and will become the top-ranked woman in the world.
Serena Williams, the No. 6 seed, will be vying for her 14th Major title and fifth at Wimbledon, but her first since Wimbledon two years ago. Since then, a series of health issues derailed her career. On the other side of the net, No. 3 Agnieszka Radwanska is playing in her first Major final but will be the top-ranked player in the world with a win. She is the first Pole to play for the Wimbledon Championship since Jadwiga Jedrzejowska in 1937.
Chris Evert on the Matchup, and Serena
“The Championship is Serena’s to win or lose. She controls every point with her power, be it her serve or her return. It will be interesting to see Radwanska’s game plan. She can’t try to overpower Serena. She will have to mix it up and get Serena off her rhythm.
“Since Serena has been back, look at her results in Majors. She was understandably rusty here last year, got tight in the US Open final, and had bad losses in Australia and Paris. But it’s a different Serena we see now. We haven’t seen Serena play as well as she has these last two matches since before she hurt her foot. She has great power and movement and the confidence she needs to go with that.”
ESPN and Wimbledon
The new schedule for ESPN’s 10th Wimbledon – exclusive and all-live – is the result of a 12-year agreement between ESPN and the All England Lawn Tennis Club announced just after the conclusion of the 2011 Championships. The remaining schedule:
Date Time (ET) Event Network Sat, July 7 8 a.m. – 9 a.m. Breakfast at Wimbledon ESPN / ESPN3 Live 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. Ladies’ Championship
No. 3 Radwanska vs. No. 6 Williams
ESPN / ESPN3D / ESPN3 Live 3 – 6 p.m. Ladies’ Championship ABC Tape Sun, July 8 8 a.m. – 9 a.m. Breakfast at Wimbledon ESPN / ESPN3 Live 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Gentlemen’s Championship ESPN / ESPN3D / ESPN3 Live 3 – 6 p.m. Gentlemen’s Championship ABC Tape
That does it.