CBS Television Network’s live airing of Sunday’s 2020 World TeamTennis Finals match (12:00 PM – 3:13 PM ET/9:00 AM – 12:13 PM PT) in which the New York Empire defeated the Chicago Smash on the last point of the Supertiebreaker 21-20, delivering 556,000 viewers, making it the most watched in the league’s 45-year history. The victory by the New York Empire 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” that determined the 2020 champion, viewership peaked at 1.128M viewers (3:00 PM ET – 3:13 PM ET/Noon – 12:13 PM PT).
The previous viewership record for World TeamTennis was 484,000, also on CBS Television Network, which occurred on July 19 of the 2020 WTT regular season when the Washington Kastles, featuring Venus Williams, defeated the Vegas Rollers, led by Mike and Bob Bryan, 24-18.
“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: pre-arrival, arrival and midseason.
The season was unlike any other in the league’s 45-year 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.
2020 also delivered the most blue-chip sponsors in World TeamTennis history, with GEICO (Government Employees Insurance Company) as WTT’s Official Auto Insurance Provider, DraftKings (Official Daily Fantasy Partner), Dolby (official Entertainment Partner), Guaranteed Rate (Official Mortgage Lender), Wilson (Official Racket and Ball), Har-Tru (Official Playing Surfacer), Weatherman (Official Umbrella), Zenni (Official Eyewear), Mack Weldon (Official Playoff Apparel) joining at the league-wide level, and UTR powered by Oracle, the USTA, Chosen Foods, EleVen, Greenbrier Tourism and KT Tape also coming on-board.
The season featured more television and online exposure than ever before for WTT. The playoffs aired exclusively on CBS Sports with the WTT Finals on CBS Television Network and both semifinals airing exclusively on CBS Sports Network, which also aired 13 WTT regular season matches. WTT’s 63-match regular season included first time broadcast/digital partnerships as well with 15 matches on ESPN2 (10 on ESPN+, which aired matches last season), 19 on Tennis Channel and five matches that streamed exclusively on the CBS Sports app and Facebook Watch.
WTT’s nine franchises include the expansion Chicago Smash, New York Empire, Orange County (Calif.) Breakers, Orlando Storm, Philadelphia Freedoms, San Diego Aviators, Springfield (Mo.) Lasers, Vegas Rollers and Washington (D.C.) Kastles.