ESPN Viewership up 13 Percent since August 17

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ESPN Viewership up 13 Percent since August 17

As ESPN heads towards the final quarter of the calendar year – traditionally its strongest with a schedule full of NFL and college football games and studio programming, plus the start of NBA and college basketball – the network is riding a wave of momentum with viewership up 13 percent (an increase of 138,000 viewers in the average minute) in the last month, according to Nielsen.

Since August 17, ESPN has averaged 1,217,000 viewers (P2+) on a 24-hour basis, up 13 percent compared to the same four weeks a year ago (1,079,000).

In prime time, the network has enjoyed even stronger growth during this time span, rising 20 percent over 2012 with an average of 2,894,000 viewers (2,417,000 last year).

Highlights of the last month:

  • On September 7, ESPN registered its most-viewed regular-season college football Saturday in ESPN history, an average of 5.5 million fans across 15 hours of programming, highlighted by a 5.3 rating for Notre Dame vs. Michigan, the night’s most-viewed program across all cable and broadcast networks among total viewers and key male and adult demographics (18-34, 18-49 and 25-54).
  • The September 9 Philadelphia Eagles – Washington Redskins game was the highest-rated Monday Night Football opener since ESPN took over the iconic franchise in 2006 (10.1).
  • The August 18 edition of Sunday Night Baseball – the New York Yankees vs. the Boston Red Sox, earned a 2.1 rating, the highest on the season.
  • The soccer game on September 10 between the U.S. Men’s National Team and Mexico tied the ESPN record for a World Cup Qualifying telecast (1.4).
  • The football season brings with it a number of popular studio shows.  The weekday NFL Live is up 10 percent from a year ago (688,000 viewers vs. 624,000), the new weekday NFL Insiders is posting viewership 27 percent larger than the time slot did in 2012 (516,000 vs. 405,000), and the expanded Saturday morning College GameDay is averaging 20 percent more audience for 9 a.m. – Noon ET than those three hours averaged last year (1,956,000 vs. 1,631,000).

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Dave Nagle

As I write this on 11-11-21, it's now 35 years for me at ESPN, the only real job I’ve ever had. I joined merely to help with the upcoming America’s Cup in Australia. I was told it would be for three months at all of $5.50 per hour. I like to say I simply kept showing up. I’ve worked on almost every sport, plus answered viewer calls and letters (people used to write!), given tours, written the company newsletter and once drove NASCAR’s Jeff Gordon to the local airport. My travels have been varied…I’ve been to Martinsville, Darlington, Indy and Super Bowls; the America’s Cup (all 3) in San Diego and College GameDay in the sport’s meccas such as Eugene, Auburn, Lubbock, Stillwater and more; the NBA Finals, Wimbledon (16 times and counting) and the “other Bristol,” the one with a race track in Tennessee. These days, my main areas are tennis, UFC, boxing, network-wide ratings (by month/quarter/year), and corporate communications documents, including fact sheets, chronologies, lists and nearly 35 of the Year in Review press releases. UPDATE EXACTLY ONE YEAR LATER: Today, November 11, 2022, I am retiring from ESPN -- 36 years to the day I began. As I ride off into the sunset – top down and E Street Radio blaring – I do so with so many wonderful memories, proud of my contributions and a heart full of gratitude for the opportunity. 
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