Australian Open Finals Saturday viewership numbers down by 66% compared to 2022, decline attributed to absence of fan favorites Kyrgios & Barty
Channel 9's viewership numbers for the men's doubles final and women's singles final at the 2023 Australian Open took a strong hit compared to the 2022 edition. The Australian TV network had signed a contract extension until 2023 to broadcast the Grand Slam, and splashed around $500 million on the deal.
The women's singles final was contested between reigning Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina and fifth seed Aryna Sabalenka in 2023. The men's doubles final, meanwhile, featured the Aussie duo of Rinky Hijikata and Jason Kubler at Rod Laver Arena. Both these matches took place on January 28th.
As per news.com.au, during Saturday night’s women’s singles final and the men’s doubles final, the ratings peaked at 1.437 million viewers. That doesn't come anywhere close to last year's numbers, which peaked at 4.261 million viewers.
Sabalenka went on to beat Rybakina to lift her maiden Grand Slam trophy, while Hijikata and Kubler trumped the all-Polish pairing of Hugo Nys and Jan Zielinski to win their maiden doubles Grand Slam title.
In the 2022 women's singles final, on the other hand, Aussie superstar Ash Barty clinched the title in front of her roaring home fans. And in the men's doubles final Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis brought delight to Melbourne fans as they clinched their maiden Grand Slam doubles title.
Although the Aussie faithful did get an all-Aussie pairing lifting the men's doubles trophy again, Barty and Kyrgios' absence from the tournament was quite impactful. Barty, a three-time Grand Slam champion, retired from the sport shortly after lifting the trophy in Melbourne. Kyrgios, meanwhile, withdrew from the 2023 tournament at the last minute citing a leg injury.
“We know Djokovic really isn't a rating drawcard" - TV expert on the Serb returning to Australian Open 2023
Novak Djokovic won his 10th Australian Open on Sunday, beating Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-3, 7-6(4), 7-6(5) in the final. Things came full circle for Djokovic a year after he was deported from the country due to his vaccination status.
Although the 22-time Grand Slam winner is a popular figure in tennis and Down Under, TV expert Colin Vickery opined that he wasn't a ratings drawcard. Vickery claimed that the Serb's return to the Australian Open after all the drama in the previous edition wouldn't make much difference.
“We know Djokovic really isn't a ratings drawcard in my mind, so the fact of him being part of it this year, I think doesn’t make any difference. The world of tennis is lacking TV rating drawcards at the moment, it is in a transition phase. The drawcards who are reliable like Ash Barty, (Roger) Federer, they have gone and there are very few coming through right at this moment,” Vickery said to the Herald.