Serve Up Excitement in Every Tennis Match: Boosting Tennis Viewership

Serve Up Excitement in Every Tennis Match: Boosting Tennis Viewership

Despite more tennis participation in the U.S., TV viewership is suffering. In 2023, viewership for the U.S. Open was down 17%, even with American Coco Gauff winning the Women’s Final. In 2024, the trend remains, with an overall 7% decrease in viewership. This dip isn’t due to more fans watching tennis matches live. Stadiums are usually empty for early-round matches. So why is this happening? For one, doubles tennis gets no love from TV even though more recreational players play doubles than singles. To boost tennis viewership, we need to reinvent how tennis, especially doubles, is covered on TV, making it more accessible and entertaining to existing fans and potential new audiences. 

In this blog, we will explore three ways to reinvent tennis on TV

  1. Better incentives for top players to play doubles
  2. Better announcers
  3. Better technology

Let’s start by looking at how the US broadcasts tennis matches. 

The State of Tennis Match Broadcasting in the U.S.

the rocket tennisThe current broadcast strategy makes it hard for tennis to win over new fans. While major networks such as ESPN, NBC, and ABC show some coverage of the US Open, given that it's in our backyard, other tournaments like Wimbledon, The Australian Open, the French Open, and even the Davis Cup get minimal coverage on traditional TV. To compensate, they will promote live coverage of all the Grand Slam courts on their premium services, but this approach makes it tough for potential new fans to stumble upon the sport and even harder for them to experience the rush of rooting for American players.

Remember last year when ESPN promised to air exclusive coverage of the 2023 Australian Open on ESPN+ but failed miserably to show all the action, including a young Sebastian Korda win over Daniil Medvedev in the third round? Talk about a miss! Although Korda didn’t make it to the finals, this tennis match is still regarded as a major win for United States tennis. It's the kind of win that taps into our patriotic spirit and drives demand for more. So, where do we start? With doubles! 

Innovating Doubles 

To boost viewership, let’s start by bringing doubles out of the shadows. In our opinion, these matches are more entertaining due to the amount of strategy and aggressive net play that each player must possess, but all too often, little to no information or live scores are shared with fans. 

For doubles to thrive, the industry needs creative solutions to keep partners together long enough to become household names such as the Bryans Brothers, Williams Sisters, and ‘The Special K’s.’ With the increasing athleticism, strategy, and teamwork necessary for success in modern-day doubles tennis, teams like The Special Ks help shine a spotlight on what makes doubles such an exciting and integral part of the sport. 

The industry would also benefit from more innovative ideas to attract “name” players to doubles. A prime example is the 2018 BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, which had a great idea when it offered a million-dollar bonus if a player won both singles and doubles. 

Refreshing the Commentator Box 

the rocket tennisWhen it comes to announcers, we’re in favor of moving away from the familiar but tired wooden racquet-era color commentators and toward sports analysts who are more attuned to modern styles of play. Today's tennis matches deserve analysts who can draw upon the latest news releases and challenger news and sift through match notes with a coach’s discernment, making each point and every strategic move come alive. They are familiar with emerging players and tennis legends and know how to draw on the possible interests of those watching at home. 

So, what makes a good tennis match commentator? 

  • Profound knowledge of rising stars and tennis legends. 
  • A grasp of modern play styles and tactics. 
  • Analyses that articulate the reasoning behind each point.
  • A balanced delivery, rich with insight yet free from excessive anecdotes or clichés.

Below are the voices that make us stop what we’re doing and tune in: 

  • Nick Kyrgios isn't just a player; he's an experience. His technical know-how and a knack for entertaining and candid commentary give fans a front-row seat to tennis’s strategic complexity. As part of the Special K duo, he also knows how to bring excitement to the doubles format and share valuable information. 
  • Andrea Petkovic, with her dynamic personality that’s as colorful as the clay grounds of the Buenos Aires Lawn Tennis Club, she’s our pick for insightful and infectiously spirited commentary. Her top-10 experience gives viewers first-hand insight into a modern player's strategy. When she’s on, we tune in. 
  • James Blake, known for his calm presence, adds a layer of sophistication to every tennis match he analyzes. His respectful approach and ability to add the right color and information to his delivery make him a favorite among fans looking for a blend of knowledge and nuance.
  • Taylor Townsend's commentary is a burst of fresh air. Her youthful energy, practical insights, and familiarity with current high-ranking players give her commentary a unique perspective full of useful information.

Better Use of Technology 

the rocket tennisTaking a page from other sports, we believe embracing technology can significantly increase excitement. Imagine Kyrgios using a telestrator and his knowledge as a singles and doubles player to show viewers precisely how a point was won. Or what he might have done differently. It gives us a chance to learn from the pros. 

Now that in-match coaching is allowed in every Grand Slam, we could even mic the coaches like they do in other sports. Commentators could translate a coach's brief instruction or subtle hand gestures to break down the strategy, filling air time with knowledgeable commentary rather than the usual game calling.  

On that same note, a ‘signal cam’ in doubles could also offer an unprecedented glimpse into the unseen world of doubles tennis, highlighting the silent, strategic communications between partners. This could reveal the depth of teamwork and strategy, providing invaluable insights into the tennis match viewing experience at home.


By integrating advanced technology and insightful commentary, static media guide stats become engaging tennis matches — whether singles or doubles, on the ATP Tour, or in major tournaments — that pull fans right into the heart of the action with detailed information and analysis. 

With a new generation of dynamic players making waves and the potential to revolutionize tennis match broadcasts with cutting-edge technology and refreshing commentary, there's a real opportunity to kindle a deeper love for the game. By breaking away from outdated broadcasting habits and embracing innovative ways to showcase the sport, we can elevate the excitement around tennis and build a stronger, more engaged fan base. 

In the meantime, if you're feeling inspired, grab your go-to racquet and gear, toss them into The Rocket tennis racquet bag, and head to the court! 

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