Channel 4’s coverage of the women’s US Open tennis final reached a peak audience of 9.2 million on Saturday night.
The match saw Britain’s teenage star Emma Raducanu become the first qualifier, male or female, to win a US Open title, and the first British woman to win a tennis Grand Slam since Virginia Wade in 1977.
The free-to-air broadcaster struck a last-minute deal with Amazon Prime Video to screen the final after Raducanu’s unlikely route to the final.
The news was reminiscent of Channel 4’s late deal with Sky Sports to broadcast the 2019 Cricket World Cup final after England reached a final on home soil. That memorable match at Lord’s - won by the home team in dramatic fashion in a super over - attracted a peak TV audience of 4.5 million on the free-to-air channel, though the match did compete with the men’s singles final at Wimbledon which aired on BBC 1 at the same time.
The peak audience of 9.2 million saw Channel 4 claim a 39.9% share of total audience on Saturday night, including 48% of 16-34 year olds.
Announcing the deal, ahead of the match, Channel 4’s Chief Content Officer Ian Katz said: “Emma’s meteoric rise to secure a place in the US Open Final is just sensational. We’re glad to have worked with Prime Video and pulled out all the stops to get it on air and I’m sure viewers will be thrilled at the prospect of watching Emma in this Grand Slam final.
“We didn’t know we’d secured the deal until late on Friday night and so many people have gone above and beyond to make it happen. But Channel 4 is all about finding ways to let our viewers share great national moments, whether it’s Bake Off or big sporting events like the Cricket World Cup final or US Open final.”