New Stars and More Winners are Driving Engagement for the ATP 1000’s
Significant year-on-year streaming increases, with a 118% increase in total views, as new stars start to break the famous tennis triopoly.
Stefanos Tsitsipas’s victory at the O2 was the culmination of a fantastic season for him and men’s tennis. He won two ATP titles on both clay and hardcourt, reached the Australian Open semi-final and then won the Tour Finals in London. It was a great season for the Athens born player, but he is not alone in his progression. 2019 marked a season when the younger generation of players began to once again stake their claims as real contenders for grand-slam titles.
Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer are still undisputedly the best in the game. They have won the last 12 grand-slams since 2017 and also won their 35th (RN), 34th (ND) and 28th (RF) ATP 1000’s titles this season. However, the gap is now closing and the five young players at the season-finale are testimony to this. Medvedev won two ATP 1000 events, reached the US Open Final and also won two 250 events. Zverev, who won the Finals in 2018, would have been frustrated by his season but he still made the Tour Finals and the Final at the Shanghai Masters. Berrettini was the first Italian at the ATP Finals since 1978 and his appearance in London reflected his rise to stardom this season. From a world ranking of 57 in March, his closing ranking of 8 highlights the hunger that is now there from the younger generation. Thiem, the oldest of the five at just 26, has also been the most successful, winning five titles and reaching both the French Open and ATP Tour Finals. The young challengers are certainly now in a position to wrestle the top honours from the talons of the ‘Big Three.’
Increased competition within the ATP 1000’s has translated into a significant increase in IMG ARENA’s streaming numbers across the world. Total views over the ten ATP 1000 events in 2019 is up 118% on the previous year and unique viewers have seen a jump of 31%. Suggesting that both new and old viewers are returning to watch multiple events, clearly highlighting them as a fantastic acquisition and retention tool for sportsbooks.
This year was the first time since 2003 where seven individual players have won either an ATP 1000 event or the ATP Tour Final (10 events). All seven players represented different countries and fan engagement across different regions has received a major boost as a consequence.
Tsitsipas’s performances in ATP 1000 events have seen total views in his home territory of Greece rise 89% from 2018 to 19. Italy, where the likes of Berrettini, Fognini and Sonego have prospered, have also boosted numbers by 107% this year. The change in the staple diet of three-player domination appears to be boosting fan engagement across different countries and the ATP’s desire to launch the ATP Cup next year perhaps reflects this too. Fans love to support their country and further engagement from territories is always ignited when a home-born player is making headlines.
For three years now the supposed changing of the guard has been expected to take place and up until 2019, those thoughts have continually looked premature. Yet, as we enter 2020 it does now realistically look like the landscape of men’s tennis may be shifting to a younger generation, who based on the Nitto ATP Finals, have every chance of winning slams in 2020. The unpredictability of the coming year adds a layer of intrigue that certainly has been lacking in recent seasons and fans are no doubt likely to latch onto this with increased engagement and focus on the potential turning tide at the top of men’s tennis.
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