Last year, ESPN began providing TV coverage of the final weekend of the storied London tennis tournament, replacing incumbent
The peacock network had broadcast Wimbledon championship matches for more than 40 years but the All England Lawn Tennis Club showed NBC its backhand after the 2011 tournament. The group opted to instead sign a 12-year pact with ESPN after it grew increasingly frustrated by NBC's preemptions during key matches that angered U.S. tennis fans.
Sunday's Gentlemen’s Championship, which saw
Nearly 2.5 million people watched ESPN's coverage of the tense, three-set duel in which Murray defeated No. 1 ranked
Sunday's audience on ESPN, however, fell well short of last year's performance when 3.9 million viewers in the U.S. watched
On Saturday, ESPN's telecast of the Ladies’ Championship, in which
The Saturday double-header ranked as the fifth-most watched tennis event ever on ESPN, which is owned by
ESPN has been making a sizable investment on tennis. Although the audiences are much smaller than for basketball or professional football, tennis attracts affluent viewers that luxury brands, including Rolex and Mercedes Benz, pay a premium to reach.
ESPN also has been paying big money to lock up the rights to several marquee sports properties to fend off emerging competitors, including the
In May, ESPN clinched an 11-year deal with the United States Tennis Assn. for the exclusive TV rights to the
ESPN paid close to $75 million annually for the U.S. Open rights, a steep increase from what the USTA has been receiving in its current deal with