Thursday, January 31, 2008

Cricket Trumps Battle of Beauties

Here's to all those who swore by their mother's names that Maria Sharapova, not Serena Williams, was the reason last year's Australian Open final ratings were so high. Perhaps we'll never know. But this year, the final between Maria and Ana Ivanovic, dubbed the Battle of the Beauties, lost out to cricket.

GUTS tops glamour - at least in the Australian Open tennis women's final television ratings stakes.

An average of 931,000 fans across the five Channel 7 metropolitan markets tuned in to watch circuit beauty Maria Sharapova down her equally striking opponent Ana Ivanovic 7-5, 6-3, in the Grand Slam final last Saturday.

It was a 33.89 per cent drop from last year when 1.24 million viewers hung on every ball between former world No. 1 Serena Williams and Sharapova, with the former easily triumphing in straight sets, 6-1, 6-2.

Insiders suggest tuning in was a way for fans to show their respect for the then unseeded Williams, who whipped Sharapova off the court in little more than an hour.

At the time Williams, who also took home the Melbourne crown in 2003 and 2005, had been sidelined for most of 2006.

It was at the Australian Open where she proved she was back to form, making a phenomenal 28 winners against just 11 unforced errors.

A Seven spokeswoman said the women's final results were down but overall the Grand Slam tournament ratings were up by 11 per cent.

" It's also worth bearing in mind that this (the women's final) was up against the cricket on Nine whereas in 2007 it was not," she said.



Savannah said...


Let the excuses begin.

Nina said...

It is simply impossible accurately compare those two events since the article itself says that this year's women's final was up against the cricket on Nine whereas in 2007 it was not. Judging from the amount of Maria's endorsements, I would assume that she currently attracts more audience worldwide than Serena does. These sponsors do their market research before signing multi-million $ contracts.

Sucker said...

I don't see what's so revealing about the fact it lost to cricket. Like said above, there are no grounds for comparison; whatever you may think of it, it's one of the biggest sports in Oz. I personally think (american) football is silly, but try running the tennis match of the century against the Super Bowl and you'll see what happens.

If the most marketable girl in tennis joined by the one who is quickly becoming the most popular face fades in front of cricket that says a lot more about tennis than it does about the crowd appeal of Serena Williams. Or do you really believe if she was there this year the story would've been any different?

Craig Hickman said...

Hi nina and sucker, are you both new? If so, welcome.

Savannah said...

What you say may be true but last year when the broadcast the women's final in NYC's Times Square crowds stopped to watch. This year they showed the jumbotron but no mention was made of crowds stopping to watch.

And IIRC the crowd reaction was definitely underwhelming in regard to her victory.

Maria was the best female player in Melbourne and she deserved her win. I just think that if the viewership results had been different we'd never hear the end of it.

Anyone know what the results were in the States and Europe?

Sucker said...

It's Times Square. I'm sure in Serbia everyone stopped to watch too.

Plus, it's undeniable it was a better presentation of tennis, even if it was one-sided. I assume a casual observer would be more interested, whether it was Maria, Serena, or my mom playing.

Craig, thanks for the welcome. I'm not quite new, I always read and I've posted a few times but changed computers and lost my ID. For the 35th time.