Seven’s five city metro average of 1.661 million viewers for this year’s Australian Open’s men’s singles finals came up short in comparison to 2013’s final of 2.12 million.
Although failing to pull in as many viewers as last year’s match the unusual excitement of Rafael Nadal’s injuries and Stanislas Wawrinka’s domination of Nadal in the first and second sets managed to score the top most watched show in the free-to-air channels for Sunday, according to OzTam preliminary ratings.
Peaking at 3.1 million combined viewers, the tennis final smashed its competition of Nine’s coverage of Australia vs England One Day Cricket match which saw a five city metro average of 942,000 for the first session.
Compared to the last time the tennis was up against an Australia vs England match in 2011, this year’s coverage saw a whopping viewing increase of 20.3%.
The drama-filled final boosted Seven to first place for Sunday night’s ratings with a total combined share of 39.7% with 33.3% going to its primary station.
Seven thoroughly leapt away from the other stations where the second spot went to Nine with a total of 27.1% with 20.2% going to its primary station.
While Nadal and Wawrinka may not have drawn in as many viewers as 2013’s final between Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray, their game proved more popular than the women’s singles final broadcast the previous night.
The Australian Open’s women’s final of China’s Li Na vs Slovakia’s Dominika Cibulkova also managed to grab the top place for most watched show on Saturday night, however only brought in 1.148 million viewers compared to the men’s.
The Open’s hometown of Melbourne remained loyal to the sport, scoring the most number of viewers for both nights of the finals, 623,000 for the men’s finals and 418,000 for the women’s.
Sydneysiders were next most interested in seeing how the tennis played out, with 514,000 tuning in for Wawrinka’s first Open title and 344,000 for Li Na’s triumph against Cibulkova.
At the beginning of the two tennis filled weeks, media analyst Steve Allen told B&T he did not believe Seven would recover the ground it lost in the first two days of the tournament.
“The tennis gods aren’t really smiling on Seven, they aren’t frowning but they are not really smiling,” Allen told B&T near the tournament’s beginning.
Although last year’s tennis ratings beat out this year’s, 2013’s results were still down double digits from 2012.
Peak audiences for 2013 fell by 13.24% compared to the previous year, where Allen had said most of the blame lay with Seven.