ESPN Digital Media Continues to Lead the Sports Category in 2012

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ESPN Digital Media Continues to Lead the Sports Category in 2012

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In 2012, ESPN continued to lead the Sports category across online, mobile, video and digital audio and innovate across fantasy, games and social media platforms.  Its emphasis on personalization coupled with products, services and campaigns that resonate with sports fans in new ways along with greater distribution of its platforms than ever before is a formula for yet another successful year for ESPN Digital Media.

“ESPN is the default setting for sports fans – true tune-in, turn-on media,” said John Kosner, Executive Vice President, ESPN Digital and Print Media.  “We are never satisfied and always moving forward, constantly striving to exceed fans’ expectations.  Our best available screen philosophy drives our thinking, and we are building a suite of elegant products that are easy to use and of unmatched quality that make sense together to deliver what fans want anytime, anywhere and on any device.  Put it together and ESPN is second to none – not just for fans – but for rights holders who benefit from enhanced content and viewership, advertisers that leverage our ad innovation solutions, marketers seeking to associate themselves with our brand and affiliates that see the value in reaching those fans across digital platforms.”

A snapshot of the numbers and major milestones for ESPN Digital Media in 2012:

  • Averaged 37.3 million unique visitors per month (source: comScore)
  • #1 in the Sports category in terms of:
    • Average minute audience – of 74,562, 64 percent higher than its closest competitor
    • Total minutes per month – with 3.3 billion, also capturing nearly 30 percent of all minutes spent with sports sites online
    • Video unique viewers – were 34 percent higher than its closest competitor (source: comScore) while streams were up 29 percent vs. 2011 (source: Adobe)
  • Averaged 8.6 million unique visitors with a 4 percent increase both in total minutes (81.4 million) and average minute audience (1,854) per month across all five ESPN Local sites (New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston and Dallas) compared to the previous year
  • ESPN Insider grew to over 726,000 subscribers in 2012, up 13 percent compared to the previous year

  • Celebrated its first anniversary on Jun. 8
  • Introduced new original videos and web series, including the 30 For 30 Shorts – the first of which debuted in May – and Grantland’s YouTube channel that launched in September
  • Averaged 2.2 million unique visitors and 27.6 million total minutes per month (source: comScore)
  • Grantland Podcast Network led by The BS Report with Bill Simmons logged over 50.2 million complete downloads

ESPNFC & ESPNcricinfo

  • ESPNFC first launched as a preview in June for EURO 2012, logging an average of 919,000 unique visitors and 12.7 million minutes per day during the tournament, up 35 percent and 205 percent respectively compared to EURO 2008 (source: Adobe/Omniture)
  • From August 15-December 31 during its official launch, ESPNFC worldwide and across platforms grew 24 percent to 935,000 average daily unique users and 3 percent to 11.7 million average daily minutes compared to the same time period the previous year
  • ESPNcricinfo’s average daily visitors (1.64 million) and average daily total minutes (43.5 million) were up 0.4 percent and 44 percent respectively compared to the previous year
  • During the World Twenty20 Championship, ESPNcricinfo globally across all platforms logged an average minute audience of 80,000 (four times greater than the 2010 tournament), more than 800 million page views (up 215 percent) and 2.3 billion total minutes (up 323 percent)


  • Signed four additional distribution deals in 2012 – Comcast, Cablevision, Cox and Charter – making WatchESPN available to seven of the top ten multichannel video programming distributors nationwide
  • WatchESPN now accessible on computers, smartphones, tablets and – through a new agreement signed in June 2012 – via ESPN on Xbox LIVE to Gold members
  • Distribution for WatchESPN increased to 46 million, while ESPN3 grew to 83 million households nationwide
  • Total downloads of the WatchESPN app – now available in the App Store, Google Play and Amazon Appstore for Android – have more than doubled in 2012
  • ESPN3 delivered 3,643 exclusive live events in 2012 – including the entire World Twenty20 Championship and nearly 1,400 college football and basketball games – and also launched an espnW channel and ESPN Deportes+ por ESPN3, new programming destinations for women’s sports and events in Spanish-language, respectively
  • Average monthly minutes to WatchESPN and ESPN3 across platforms were up 49 percent compared to the previous year (source: Adobe SiteCatalyst)
  • Key programming highlights from WatchESPN and ESPN3 across platforms:
    • NFL – Minutes per game and unique viewers to Monday Night Football this season were up 221 percent and 162 percent respectively
    • MLB – Minutes per game and unique viewers for the 2012 regular season were up 20 percent and 35 percent
    • NBA – 199.9 million minutes during the regular season (up 80 percent) and an average of 11.9 million minutes per game during the Playoffs (up 127 percent)
    • College Basketball – 455.9 million minutes to regular season games and 102 million minutes to Men’s Championship Week games, up 56 percent and 32 percent respectively, compared to the 2010-11 season
    • EURO 2012 – 450.5 million total live minutes (up 871 percent vs. EURO 2008), average minute audience of 96,102 and an average of 289,000 unique viewers per match

ESPN Mobile

  • #1 in the Sports category across the mobile Web and apps (source: Nielsen, Jan-Nov) in average minute audience (14,600), unique visitors (13.3 million) and total minutes (642 million)
  • Leading mobile Web sports site for the 6th year in a row, with a 33 percent category share of minutes, triple that of its closest competitor, and is the 8th most-trafficked site on the mobile Web overall in 2012
  • ESPN consistently remained atop the most downloaded free sports apps for iPhone in the App Store with its four pillars of content: scores (ScoreCenter), news (SportsCenter Feed), audio (ESPN Radio) and video (WatchESPN)
  • ScoreCenter, ESPN’s most popular app, has been downloaded more than 40 million times across three major smartphone platforms – iOS, Android, Windows Phone – and averaged 3 million daily unique visitors with an average minute audience of 29,319 a day (source: Distimo, Adobe SiteCatalyst)
  • Launched the SportsCenter Feed app in December, a streaming reader experience that allows fans to filter news around the teams, sports and players they care most about
  • Other new apps launched in 2012 include the ESPN College Football app as well as new versions of ScoreCenter, ESPN Radio and ESPN Fantasy Football optimized on more devices and platforms than ever before
  • Sent 20.9 billion alerts (up 138 percent) to over 19.2 million active subscribers (up 74 percent)
  • ESPN Mobile TV carried 1,145 live events and delivered more than 10,000 on-demand video clips throughout the year

Digital Audio

  • averaged more than 714,000 unique listeners per month that logged more than 95.3 million total listening hours in 2012, with 11.2 million session starts per month (source: Ando Media)
  • ESPN Audio NOW Player on also logged its best month ever in March since it first launched eleven years ago, generating nearly 1.51 million page views from users listening between 30-60 minutes of digital audio (source: Adobe/Omniture)
  • ESPN Podcasts logged 188.8 million completed downloads via the ESPN PodCenter and iTunes

ESPN Fantasy

  • Total registered players for ESPN Fantasy were up 11 percent in 2012
  • Unique users are up across the board, including ESPN Fantasy Football (up 15.5 percent), ESPN Fantasy Baseball (up 8 percent) and ESPN Fantasy Basketball (up 4 percent) over the previous seasons
  • Men’s Tournament Challenge bracket game logged more than 6.45 million brackets, surpassing 2011’s record by 8.9 percent
  • In its fifth year, Streak For The Cash logged more than 675 million picks made since it first launched in Aug. 2008, with 1.3 million unique users making a pick in 2012 and surpassing 5 million lifetime players in October

ESPN Games

  • In its second year of its current iteration with EA, the Madden NFL 13 Cover Vote recorded a new engagement record for an ESPN poll, logging nearly 20 million votes, with social content that garnered 598,000 likes, comments and shares by fans on Facebook, 53,000 likes from the winner’s post alone and 2.7 million video views on and the SportsNation YouTube page
  • ESPN talent, broadcast assets, graphics and music more deeply integrated into EA titles like NCAA Football 13 and FIFA 13
  • Weekly simulation reports on featuring recap videos voiced by ESPN SportsCenter anchor Steve Levy used the EA NHL 13 game engine to simulate marquee matchups, standings breakdowns and more
  • Other simulation packages for were produced across the college football and NFL seasons sponsored by AT&T and Sony Playstation, respectively
  • Relationship with Codemasters continued with ESPN branding and broadcast assets featured in DiRT Showdown, an arcade spinoff of DiRT 3
  • Launched ESPN Sports Connection for Nintendo Wii U via ESPN’s first collaboration with Ubisoft while also marking ESPN’s debut presence in the casual multi-sport gaming space
  • Emmy award-winning EA Virtual Playbook continued to grow into new sports, including the NBA, college football and international soccer
  • Virtual Pitch continued its presence on Baseball Tonight, a technology that was developed in conjunction with Sony Playstation

Social Media

  • Announced a strategic collaboration with Twitter in May that offers fans and advertisers unique, interactive programs around major sporting events promoted across Twitter, ESPN networks, ABC,, ESPN Mobile and more
  • Launched Live Voting on Facebook for First Take and SportsCenter and on Twitter for Sunday NFL Countdown
  • ESPN’s Facebook fans and Twitter followers grew to more than 35.6 million and 52.7 million respectively in 2012, up 55 percent and 151 percent compared to the previous year
  • Drove 262.6 million video views on ESPN’s YouTube page throughout the year, up 104 percent


Kristie Adler

Kristie is Director of Communications. She graduated from Penn State University and is based in New York City.
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