Coco Gauff’s US Open triumph headlines a landmark summer in women’s sports
By: Ethan Hill
September 20, 2023
Photo Credit: The New Yorker
Amongst the top attractions in the 2023 US Open were legendary star Novak Djokovic, exciting phenom Carlos Alcaraz, 20-year-old sensation Ben Shelton, and the excellent play of consistent contender Daniil Medvedev. Despite these captivating matches in the men’s bracket, the emergence of 19-year-old women’s tennis star Coco Gauff was the main story which mesmerized fans and sent shockwaves throughout the world of sports. Gauff’s matches attracted a wide array of notable spectators, including Jimmy Butler, Kevin Durant, Ben Stiller and more. With all eyes on her in the Women’s Singles Final, Gauff beat Aryna Sabalenka in three sets to capture the US Open title.
The match between Gauff and Sabalenka drew 3.4 million viewers, establishing it as the highest viewed major women’s final of all time. The match also pulled 1.1 million more viewers than the men’s final, which saw Novak Djokovic defeat Daniil Medvedev. The women’s final was the most-streamed match out of both the men’s and women’s tourneys, demonstrating the star power on show right now in women’s tennis.
Gauff winning the US Open is one of the many recent examples of records being shattered in women’s sports. In fact, on August 29th, the University of Nebraska’s Women’s Volleyball team set a new attendance record for any women’s sports event. Nebraska’s match against Omaha brought in an attendance of 92,003, eclipsing a previous record of 91,648 set by a Women’s Champions League match. The volleyball game was held in Nebraska’s football stadium, allowing for a larger number of fans to be in attendance. Nebraska defeated Omaha in three consecutive sets to claim a victory in front of the record-setting crowd.
Another significant event which exemplifies this trend of growth in women’s sports was the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, which was held in Australia and New Zealand. By the end of the group stage alone, records were broken in ticket sales (more than 1.7 million), viewership (53.9 million viewers for a single match), merch sales (total merchandise sponsorship value rose to $349 million), and media interaction (FIFA’s digital platform traffic surpassed all prior Women’s World Cups in 15 days), according to Sports Illustrated. The event also served as the platform for a new record being set for attendance at a Women’s World Cup match, when 75,784 fans saw Australia’s opening match against Ireland.
In a year which has been characterized by new records, it’s clear that the industry of women’s sports will only continue to grow. A staggering number of women’s sports events in 2023 have successfully drawn larger viewership numbers than their male counterparts, captivating new audiences along the way. Furthermore, women’s sports around the globe are producing superstar athletes at a faster rate than ever before. If this historic year is any indication, women’s sports is only scratching the surface of its immense potential.