Novak Djokovic’s ninth Australian Open title was watched by 1.173 million people across Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth, down from just over 1.5 million last year.
Naomi Osaka’s second Australian Open crown was watched by just under 850,000 people. That figure was also down from 1.171 million last year.
Overall, the average viewership for all matches in the key five city metro market prior to Djokovic’s clash with Medvedev was down from 522,000 per day last year to 366,000.
But Nine executives aren’t concerned by the ratings dip. With more people back at work in February than January, sources told the Herald that 9Now registered record viewership.
There were 178 million minutes of live broadcast footage streamed on 9Now, up 10 per cent on 2020.
The Australian Open has always been used as a launching platform for key shows and Nine executives were satisfied the tournament did what it was required to do – launching Married at First Sight.
“We have a great relationship with Tennis Australia and we congratulate them on such a successful tournament,” Nine’s head of sport Brent Williams said.
“The planning and agility shown by Craig Tiley and the TA team to pull off a global sporting event of this magnitude was nothing short of incredible.”
Nine’s program director Hamish Turner pointed to the 1.8 million people that tuned in to Nick Kyrgios’ round three loss to Dominic Theim as proof the tournament still performed to expectations.
“Once again, the Australian Open has captured the attention of millions of Australians. Be it Kyrgios’ stellar five set match against Dominic Thiem in week one – which saw the audience peak with 1.8m and was the most watched non-news event across the five cities so far in 2021 – and the finals which peaked at almost 1.4m respectively for the women’s match and 1.8m for the men’s final, the AO has a unique place in Australian TV,” Turner said.
“We are very happy with the incredible launch pad the Australian Open has given us into Married At First Sight and have every expectation that it will again dominate the key demographics throughout Q1 as Australia falls in love with the experiment.”
Sam is a sports reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald.