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The 2023 Australian Open may have officially come to a close, but discussions surrounding the event this year are still ongoing. After all, it’s less than seven days since Sabalenka and Djokovic snatched the titles in Melbourne, at the time of writing. So the dust surrounding the conclusion of the event has yet to settle. Yet of the many discussions taking place at the moment, there is one in particular that has caught my attention.
Despite the on-court speeches claiming this to be the best Australian Open ever held, the viewing figures in Australia would suggest something completely different. According to reports, the host broadcaster, Channel 9, reported a drop in viewing figures of close to 40%. This is the comparison between the 2023 viewing figures and 2022 viewing figures. And naturally, the media has obtained this information and made all kinds of suggestions.
However, I decided to look at this information objectively. In doing so, I can share the most likely and most realistic reasons for the drop in ratings, rather than running with any kind of controversial theories that likely aren’t true! But with that said, obviously, a 40% drop is a huge decrease in viewing figures, which must be concerning for Channel 9.
So let me address what has probably happened in regard to the viewing statistics for the 2023 Australian Open.
Australian Open 2023 – Viewing Figures Explained
As mentioned above, Channel 9 reported a decrease in viewing figures of approximately 40% compared with the previous year for this event. Understandably, the broadcaster will be immensely disappointed with these figures. But when you start to look into the possible reasons, things start to make sense.
Absence of Tennis Legends
People tend to forget that in 2023, we witnessed the retirement of two of the biggest superstars that tennis has ever seen. In case you needed any reminder, Roger Federer chose to call it a day after the summer of 2022. He retired at the Laver Cup in September 2022, which wasn’t all that long after the great Serena Williams retired at the 2022 US Open. This also occurred in September 2022 – not a great month for tennis fans.
And naturally, this would cause an automatic drop in terms of fan interest.
Early Exit of High-Profile Players
If you look beyond the absence of the game’s legends, there was another underlying element that could have caused the drop in ratings – early exits for major names, especially in the men’s event. The world number one, Carlos Alcaraz, didn’t even play. This moved Rafael Nadal up to take the number one seed position, yet he suffered an early exit in the second round.
Adding to that, 2nd seed Casper Ruud lost in the second round, and 7th seed, Daniil Medvedev, also lost early in the third round.
Less Domestic Interest
With Channel 9 being a national broadcaster in Australia, there is obviously a link between viewing figures and Australian players. Let’s not forget that Ash Barty, last year’s women’s singles winner, has retired – a major blow. And besides that, Nick Kyrgios was forced to withdraw through injury. Of course, he is probably the main attraction for Aussie viewers these days.
Finally, Kokkinakis, who was in great form going into the tournament, lost early to Andy Murray.