WTT Championship featuring the New York Empire’s 21-20 win over the Chicago Smash, delivered 556,000 viewers on CBS, the most in WTT’s 45 years of airing World TeamTennis programming
CBS Television Network’s live airing of the 2020 World TeamTennis Championship match on August 2, in which the New York Empire defeated the Chicago Smash on the last point of the “Supertiebreaker” 21-20, delivered 556,000 viewers, making it the most-watched in the league’s 45-year history.
The victory by the New York Empire — coached by French Open Champion and Net News columnist Luke Jensen — earned them the King Trophy and $500,000 in prize money, and marked the first time that the WTT’s Finals have aired live on network television. During the event’s Supertiebreaker, viewership peaked at 1.128 million viewers. The previous viewership record for WTT was 484,000, also on CBS Television Network, which occurred on July 19 of the 2020 WTT regular season.
“By almost all metrics, this has been the most successful season in World TeamTennis history,” said WTT CEO Carlos Silva. “I can’t thank our partners, sponsors, WTT staff, and the players and coaches enough for helping us responsibly bring tennis back in front of fans during these challenging times. Without this team effort, with safety our number-one priority, we would not have been able to complete this season and crown a champion.”
The league completed 822 COVID-19 tests of all players, coaches, trainers, WTT staff, and media covering the three-and-a-half week season at The Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia, all returning negative results for those participating in the event. In all, three COVID-19 tests were given to each person: pre-arrival, arrival, and midseason.
The season was unlike any other in the league’s history, with all nine participating teams staying in one location versus playing matches across the country in their home venues. Additionally, the league permitted up to 500 fans to attend its matches held at Center Court at Creekside, Greenbrier’s 2,500-seat outdoor venue.
The season featured more television and online exposure than ever before for WTT. The playoffs aired exclusively on CBS Sports with the WTT Championship on CBS Television Network and both Semifinals airing exclusively on CBS Sports Network, which also aired 13 WTT regular-season matches. The WTT 63-match regular season included first-time broadcast/digital partnerships as well with 15 matches on ESPN2, 19 on Tennis Channel, and five matches that streamed exclusively on the CBS Sports app and Facebook Watch.
The WTT’s nine franchises include the expansion Chicago Smash, New York Empire, Orange County Breakers, Orlando Storm, Philadelphia Freedoms, San Diego Aviators, Springfield Lasers, Vegas Rollers, and Washington Kastles.