ESPN Scores Most-Viewed NCAA Wrestling Championship since 2004

College Sports (Miscellaneous)

ESPN Scores Most-Viewed NCAA Wrestling Championship since 2004

WatchESPN Viewing Rises 12-Fold

ESPN delivered its most-viewed NCAA Division I Wrestling Championship in nearly a decade and second most-viewed on record (back to 1990) according to Nielsen. The network’s Championship coverage on Saturday, March 23, averaged 860,000 viewers, ESPN’s most-viewed telecast of the event, since garnering a record 878,000 viewers in 2004.

The three-hour telecast – showcasing a historic win by Cornell’s Kyle Dake – averaged 604,000 households, the largest for the event on ESPN, based on a 0.6 rating.  Compared to 2012, the event marked a 55 percent increase in viewers (860,000 vs. 554,000), 47 percent in households (604,000 vs. 411,000) and a 50 percent ratings increase (0.6 vs.0.4) over last year.

ESPN and ESPNU’s combined Tournament coverage of more than 11 hours over two days reached 5,400,000 viewers.

ESPN3 and WatchESPN’s audience for the event continued a pattern of strong yearly growth within the wrestling community. The NCAA Wrestling Championships on ESPN3 and through WatchESPN across computers, smartphones, tablets and Xbox generated 12.68 million live minutes viewed, up 13% compared to the previous year.  Viewership through the WatchESPN app generated the largest growth, with total minutes viewed up 12.8 times greater than that in 2012.

For the fifth straight year, ESPN3 carried exclusive live coverage of the First, Second and Quarterfinal Rounds via an exclusive four-screen, four-mat viewing experience unique to wrestling. ESPN and ESPNU’s live coverage of the Semifinals, Medal Round and Final Match was available through WatchESPN.

ESPN began airing NCAA wrestling championships in 1980, its first year as a network, and provided full coverage of the First Round, Second Round, Quarterfinal, Semifinal, Medal Round and Final matches from the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships in Des Moines, Iowa, March 21-23. ESPN networks’ commitment to the championships extends through 2024 as the worldwide exclusive multi-media rights holder.


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Gracie Blackburn

Gracie is the Communications Manager for ESPN’s College Networks. She handles all media requests and questions concerning SEC Network and Longhorn Network. Gracie also supports on college sports airing across ESPN networks.
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