Pan-European broadcaster Eurosport has announced its best ever French Open viewing figures for the recently completed 2014 edition of the tennis tournament.
The event at Roland Garros, Paris – one of tennis’ four annual grand slam showpieces – attracted an average live television audience of 1.36 million European viewers to mark a 17 per cent rise on Eurosport’s previous best mark for the 2012 edition.
Maria Sharapova’s final victory over Simona Halep was the most watched women’s tennis match in Eurosport’s history with an average live audience of 3.8 million viewers, 24 per cent beyond the figure for Sharapova’s meeting with Agnieszka Radwanska in the final of the 2012 Miami Masters tournament.
Rafael Nadal continued his domination of Roland Garros with a ninth singles title in the men’s competition, overcoming Novak Djokovic before 4.1 million Eurosport viewers – the channel’s second-best tennis rating behind the duo’s clash in the 2012 Australian Open final that drew 4.3 million.
In Nadal’s homeland of Spain – a market in which Eurosport benefitted from rights exclusivity – there was a live average audience rise of 128 per cent, a figure Eurosport matched in Halep’s Romania. Average viewers in the UK and France were up 79 per cent and 49 per cent respectively.
A total of 60.7 million European viewers watched the French Open on Eurosport over the course of the tournament, an improvement on its 58.8 million figure from 2013 but behind 2012’s 61.2 million.
Jean-Thierry Augustin, Eurosport Group chief executive, said: “The strategy to identify and secure exclusivity in specific European markets on key properties has delivered the expected results. The French Open is definitely one of those key properties.
“It is especially pleasing to achieve this record in our 25th year, which also marks the 25th broadcast of the French Open on our channels.”