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Tennis: WTA’s global TV and digital audiences surge in 2014

Maria Sharapova in action at the WTA Finals Singapore, the WTA’s most-watched event of 2014. Photo: Paul Lakatos / WSG.

Maria Sharapova in action at the WTA Finals Singapore, the WTA’s most-watched event. Photo: Paul Lakatos / WSG.

February 20, 2015: The WTA (Women’s Tennis Association) announced a 22.5% year-on-year increase in its global TV and digital audience viewership in 2014, according to an end-of-season report by SMG Insight covering 22 WTA premier tournaments.

 

October’s BNP Paribas WTA Finals presented by SC Global in Singapore was the most-watched tournament of the year, ahead of the 21 WTA Premier events also included in the report, which excludes Grand Slams.

 

The first WTA Finals to be held in the Asia-Pacific attracted 26.9 million viewers across seven days of tennis. Day five, featuring the semi-finals, was the most-watched day of the event, which brings together eight singles players and eight doubles teams with a US$6.5 million purse (to increase to US$7 million this year).

 

The BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells – voted by the WTA players as Premier Mandatory Tournament of the Year – provided the report’s most-watched day of broadcast, with total of 4.6 million fans accessing the semi-finals action from the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in California.

 

The event also generated the largest growth in audience, almost doubling from 11.76 million viewers in 2013 to 22.98 million last year.

 

The Miami Open presented by Itau (March 25-April 5), delivered the largest online digital audience of the year, with 9 per cent of the season’s total online digital viewers watching coverage of the tournament in March.

 

Stacey Allaster, Chairman & CEO of the WTA, said: “We knew 2014 was going to be good, but it was beyond our expectations. Fans want to get close to the athletes and follow them when they want, where they want, season-long, as they play tournaments around the world.

 

“Our goal is to deepen the engagement between fans and players by creating greater access to our content, distributing it on TV and digital channels, across mobile platforms and engage with fans on social media. What was so exciting in 2014 was to see how much fans enjoyed watching and engaging with our game.”

 

Dedicated broadcast includes all live, delayed, highlights programming. Measurement includes dedicated TV and digital coverage for 21 WTA Premier events plus the WTA Finals and are cumulative audience figures.

 

WTA 2014 – Top five events (cumulative TV and digital audiences)

1. BNP Paribas WTA Finals presented by SC Global (Singapore) – 26,928,804

2. Miami Open presented by Itau (Miami) – 23,065,116

3. BNP Paribas Open (Indian Wells) – 22,975,675

4. Rogers Cup (Toronto) – 20,271,499

5. Mutua Madrid Open (Madrid) – 18,659,536

 

Source: WTA (www.wtatennis.com); Editing by SportAsia

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