Naomi Osaka Holds Her Own Versus NFL Kickoff, Serena This Weekend

On a busy weekend with the National Football League kicking off and week two college football action, it’s easy to see how tennis’s U.S. Open Women’s Final may have been overlooked by television viewers.

And yet, the match held its own, and not just because of runner-up Serena Williams’s star power and her widely discussed argument with an official. The winner, Naomi Osaka, may have appeared in the final as a relative unknown, yet managed to be the fourth-highest driver of Emotional Reactions (ERs) on Twitter according to A.I. emotion measurement company Canvs.

Looking at Canvs’s data from Friday through Sunday, Williams was the runaway leader with 81,519 ERs, followed by Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (38,074) and the Chicago Bears (35,807) team he led a furious comeback against on Sunday night. But just below them was Osaka, with 33,500 ERs, performing impressively against a full slate of bigger names and teams.

Osaka, who is from Japanese and Haitian descent, is the first Japanese citizen to win a Grand Slam singles tournament in tennis. Though she was playing against Williams when the official incident occurred, that failed to reflect poorly on her. Canvs measured 6,651 “love” ERs about Osaka, which were the third-highest of the weekend (behind Williams and Rodgers).

In general, the Women’s Final was a hit in terms of getting people talking on Twitter. At 133,282 ERs, it drove far more emotions than any other Saturday program (the day the match aired). ESPN’s U.S. Open coverage generated more ERs than any other program aside from America’s Got Talent since the start of September. The Women’s Final out-drew any single event this month excluding the Sept. 5 episode of America’s Got Talent.

John Cassillo is an analyst and contributor with TV[R]EV.