ESPN, Inc.: 2013 in Review
In a time of unprecedented competition, ESPN further secured its leadership position in the sports media industry in 2013 with long-term programming and distribution agreements, creative new offerings across media and continued growth in its Latin American business. Always looking ahead, the company continues to invest in the future with a growing commitment to mobile offerings and a second digital production facility at its Connecticut headquarters – a 195,000-square-foot facility featuring numerous technical firsts – set to debut in May 2014.
The most expansive programming initiative is set to launch in August 2014 – the SEC Network. In a 20-year agreement with the conference reached this year, ESPN will create and operate TV and digital platforms, with existing content rights extended to 2034. In addition, rights acquisitions extending into the next decade were signed with the re-named American Athletic Conference, the Mountain West Conference, the WNBA, Univision Deportes for English-language rights to Mexican National Soccer team games, and the USTA, bringing exclusivity for tennis’ US Open starting in 2015.
Other content developments spotlight the company’s emphasis on presenting compelling, unique points of view, a la Grantland: bringing renowned statistician and author Nate Silver and his popular FiveThirtyEight.com to the ESPN family, the return of commentators Keith Olbermann and Jason Whitlock, and the critically acclaimed documentary series Nine for IX from ESPN Films and espnW which focused on women and women’s issues in sports upon the 40th anniversary of Title IX.
On the distribution side, agreements between The Walt Disney Company and AT&T U-verse and the National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative (NRTC) include ESPN content delivered via TV, internet, tablets and handheld devices; the full suite of authenticated WATCH products; and ESPN3.
In other highlights:
- Monday Night Football was cable’s most-watched series for the eighth consecutive year (the 27th in a row ESPN’s prime-time NFL series took the top spot) and was the No. 1 network all 16 weeks for men 18-49 (and 15 of 16 for men 18-34, men 25-54 and adults 18-34). ESPN won the night among households on eight Mondays.
- ESPN Digital Media wasn’t simply again the category leader, but accounted for nearly a third (31%) of all sports usage across digital platforms, more than the Nos. 2 and 3 sports properties combined. Also, the focus on serving the sports fan on the go continued, with the new SportsCenter app and WatchESPN now available to 55 million people.
- ESPN International’s multiplatform businesses in Latin America, Australia/New Zealand and Canada continued to grow, particularly with the debut of the ESPN Sync second screen in Latin America and mobile usage of ESPN Cricinfo, ESPNFC and the ESPN UK app.
- In a sign of unparalleled brand strength, ESPN and ESPN2 was ranked 1-2 in perceived value by cable operators in the Beta Research Survey, with ESPN taking the top spot for the 13th consecutive year.
- ESPN, ESPN.com, and ESPN The Magazine each was rated best for brand strength in cable, web sites and print, respectively, in an Advertiser Perspectives survey.
- The company’s long history of critically acclaimed and award-winning productions – particularly in the field of enterprise journalism, unmatched in TV sports – was again a source of pride. ESPN won its first-ever DuPont-Columbia University Award for journalism, for Outside the Lines’ probing look at issues within youth football. In addition, an OTL piece on ESPN Radio won a Murrow Award, the Gracie Awards honored OTL and espnW, and the company was named Broadcaster of the Year for a sixth straight year at the New York Festivals.
- The company produced a record 37,194 hours of live/original programming (21,029 hours – events, 16,165 – studio programming, an increase of 7 percent from 2012.
“Even as more competitors recognized the power of the ESPN multiplatform approach this year, we continued to grow by focusing on our culture of innovation, tapping into the unmatched passion of sports fans,” said John Skipper, ESPN President. “Going forward, our intention is to remain the leader by continuing to act like an insurgent, not an incumbent.”
- In addition to ESPN’s success with Monday Night Football, the BCS National Championship (Alabama 42-14 over Notre Dame) was cable’s second-biggest audience ever (averaged 26.4M viewers) and ESPN’s second-highest rating (17.5). College football games on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU each grew their audience vs. 2012 while ABC’s Saturday night game won the night among viewers six of 12 weeks, and the expanded College GameDay on ESPN improved the three-hour time slot. The NBA Finals on ABC was the second-most watched since 2004 while the NBA Draft was ESPN’s second-most watched ever. The weekend telecasts of The Open Championship set cable audience records for each day of golf’s oldest Major; the Masters broke ESPN’s record for a Friday audience. The Wimbledon Ladies and Gentlemen’s Finals provided two of ESPN’s five biggest tennis audiences ever. The 17-race NASCAR Sprint Cup schedule on ESPN/ABC saw a ratings increase over 2012.
- ESPNU posted its best year, with new highs for viewership in both total day and prime time.
- 231 million Americans watched ESPN TV content (based on “reach data” for ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNEWS & ESPN Deportes plus ESPN on ABC) in the fourth quarter to date (89% of U.S. TV homes).
- ESPN Deportes continued to grow in 2013 with the expansion of digital products and more live studio programming. New digital services included the launch of ESPN Deportes on WatchESPN and ESPN Sync, the first Spanish-language sports second-screen app. The year also saw the launch of two new studio shows: A Los Golpes, a prime-time boxing news and analysis show produced at ESPN’s Los Angeles production facility featuring Julio Cesar Chavez Sr., and #Redes an interactive show that mixes sports, entertainment and pop culture. In addition, ESPN Deportes expanded SportsCenter, with more live editions every weekend, and Futbol Picante with an additional daily, live edition that is also simulcast on ESPN Deportes Radio. ESPN Deportes also secured a multimedia rights extension of Mexican league soccer that granted the network more Liga MX and CopaMX matches every season. It carried The NBA Finals for the first time, breaking viewership records: a total of 1.2 million Hispanics (P2+) watched The Finals on ESPN Deportes; Game 7 delivered the most-watched, highest-rated NBA game ever on U.S. Spanish-language TV, delivering a 2.8 Hispanic household coverage rating with an audience of 268,700 viewers (P2+).
- Longhorn Network celebrated its second anniversary in August and aired more than 175 original events and 500 hours of original studio content. LHN was again recognized for production excellence, earning four Lone Star Emmys. In addition, the network added distribution with Time Warner Cable provider joining national provider AT&T U-Verse and increasing its reach to 12 million households.
- ESPN Digital Media (source: comScore Multi-Platform Report, Jan-Nov)
- Maintained the no. 1 position among all sports properties in average minute audience, total minutes of usage and total visits in 2013, accounting for nearly a third (31%) of all sports category usage across digital platforms, more than the Nos. 2 and 3 sports properties combined. On average, ESPN digital properties attracted 56.3 million unique visitors, logged 5.6 billion minutes of usage and 664.1 million visits.
- ESPN was the no. 1 digital sports property for unique visitors across all male demographics, leading its closest competitor by 49 percent among men 18-34 and 23 percent among men 18-49.
- ESPN.com (source: comScore/Adobe SiteCatalyst, Jan-Nov)
- Continued to lead the Sports Category in 2013, generating 29 percent of the Sports category usage for the year and an average minute audience of 66,000, 54 percent higher than its closest competitor. (comScore)
- Averaged 10.3 million daily unique visitors per month, up 4 percent vs. 2012.
- Growth was driven by its robust variety of offerings including news, video, commentary, analysis, fantasy, digital audio, ESPN Insider, affinity sites and more.
- WatchESPN (source: Omniture, Jan-Dec)
- WatchESPN and ESPN3 averaged 476.4 million minutes per month with live and replay events across all platforms in 2013, up 7 percent.
- WatchESPN logged its best month ever in November with 2.2 million unique users (up 77 percent vs. Nov. 2012) and 197.3 million minutes (up 170 percent), according to Adobe Analytics. ESPN linear networks on WatchESPN across all platforms also logged a new high in November with 428.8 million minutes, up 239 percent.
- ESPN Mobile (source: comScore Mobile Metrix, Adults 18+, Jan-Nov)
- Continued its leadership in the Sports category, ranking #1 across the mobile Web and apps for total minutes (2.4 billion), unique visitors (33.6 million), and an average minute audience of 56,010.
- 34 percent of ESPN Digital Media’s unique users – 56.5 million people – exclusively accessed content on smartphones and tablets, and 44 percent of all time spent with ESPN digital content came from mobile device users (source: comScore Multi-Platform Report, Feb-Nov).
- New apps and updates launched in the past year include SportsCenter, WatchESPN and ESPN Fantasy Football.
- ESPN Digital Audio
- Grantland.com logged more than 51 million downloads to its podcasts and nearly 32 million for The BS Report with Bill Simmons alone.
- ESPN Fantasy
- Fantasy Football unique users were up 23 percent from the 2012 season.
- ESPN Social Media
- ESPN networks and ESPN on ABC content generated 171 million social media comments in 2013.
- ESPN has 24.5+ million Facebook fans. ESPN’s top 5 Facebook pages in 2013 were ESPN (9.2 million), SportsCenter (7.7 million), X Games (4.5 million), mundoESPN (2.7 million) and ESPNcricinfo (2.1 million).
- ESPN had 27.2 million unique followers across all ESPN Twitter accounts in 2013. ESPN’s top 5 Twitter accounts in 2013 were @ESPN (8.2 million followers), @SportsCenter (6.5 million), @adamschefter (2.6 million), @billsimmons (2.4 million) and @SportsNation (2.0 million).
- ESPN Audio, (comprised of the country’s largest sports radio network ESPN Radio, providing more than 8,500 hours of talk and event content annually, reaching more than 23 million listeners a week on nearly 500 affiliates – over 350 of which are full-time including owned and/or operated stations in New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago; ESPN Deportes Radio, ESPNRadio.com, ESPN Podcasts; and ESPN’s five local sites [Boston, Chicago, Dallas, LA and New York]), saw impressive growth during 2013. Highlights include:
- In 2013, ESPN The Magazine grew its total audience to nearly 16 million readers per issue and digital-only consumption to 1.4 million. Among magazines with more than 10 million male readers, ETM leads among men 18-34. With distinctive photography and design to go with compelling features, the Mag was honored this year by the National Headliner Awards, the Deadline Club, The New York Press Club, the National Association of Black Journalists, The Society of Publication Designers and the Communication Arts Photography competition.
- espnW, whose mission it is to serve women as fans and athletes, continued its rise with a redesign of espnW.com (working seamlessly across desktop, mobile and tablet), another succesful espnW: Women + Sports Summit featuring industry leaders and world-renown athletes, and a series of successful collaborations:
- With ESPN Films on the superb “Nine for IX” film series – nine documentaries by nine female directors. Inspired by the 40th anniversary of Title IX, the series included stories about Venus Williams’ fight for equal pay at Wimbledon, the largely unknown history of Katarina Witt and her link with East Germany’s secret police, an intimate look at Pat Summitt, and the business of sex in marketing female athletes.
- With the U.S. Department of State on the Global Mentoring Program which provides female athletes across the globe with hands-on experience here in the U.S., working directly with leading female executives in the sports industry.
- With SportsCenter on the “Impact 10” athlete countdown.
- And with ESPN The Magazine on the first “Taboo” Issue which featured Kate Fagan’s profile of Brittney Griner.
- ESPNRadio.com, ESPN Deportes Radio and the ESPN Radio app logged more than 111.7 million total listening hours in 2013 (Jan-Nov), up 19% vs. last year. The three combined to generate 163.7 million session starts (up 16.7%) and an average time spent listening of more than 42 minutes (up 26.8%).
- Men’s Tournament Challenge game logged nearly 8.15 million brackets, surpassing last year’s record by 26 percent. At the peak period, fans registered 8,123 brackets per minute (135 brackets per second).
- For the first time, ESPN Radio broadcast NFL games, signing multi-year agreements with the New York Giants, New York Jets, New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers and Miami Dolphins for out-of-market Sunday afternoon syndication rights.
- The Paul Finebaum Show – hugely popular throughout the southeast – debuted on ESPN Radio in August; the four-hour syndicated daily program will be simulcast on the SEC Network when it debuts next August.
- The Dan LeBatard Show made its national ESPN Radio debut in September, completing the new weekday afternoon lineup with Sedano & Stink, hosted by Jorge Sedano and Mark Schlereth and The Freddie Coleman Show.
- ESPN Los Angeles 710 announced a six-year extension as flagship station for the Los Angeles Lakers; ESPN Deportes New York reached a one-year agreement to broadcast New York Knick games in Spanish on 1050AM.
- Mike & Mike executed the largest tune-in campaign ESPN Radio has ever run, Say HI to the Mikes, awarding a trip to Hawaii. The campaign generated more than 1.4 million entries in six weeks.
- In November, ESPN Audio reorganized its structure to more strongly focus on efforts at both the network-wide and local levels.
ESPN International includes ownership — in whole or in part — of 24 television networks outside of the United States, as well as a variety of additional businesses that allow ESPN to reach sports fans in 58 countries and territories across all seven continents. ESPN International business entities include television, radio, print, internet, broadband, wireless, consumer products, and event management. The company and its holdings maintain offices or production facilities in key locations around the world including Bangalore, Buenos Aires, Hong Kong, London, Melbourne, Mexico City, Miami, Mumbai, New York, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Singapore and Sydney.
It was another year of growth for ESPN in Spanish-speaking Latin America. In March, ground was broken on a new state-of-the-art studio facility in Mexico City that is scheduled to be online in time for the FIFA World Cup 2014, and ESPN’s first office opened Colombia in November. Online, ESPN.com ranked no. 1 in Mexico and no. 2 in Argentina in video starts (comScore 11/2014). National awards for best sports and television programming were received in Argentina for Hablemos de Futbol, SportsCenter and Pura Quimica. For the first time, ESPN International and ESPN Corporate Outreach teamed, building a playground in alliance with KaBOOM! near Mexico City. International and Outreach also announced a grant to Special Olympics’ Unified Sports program, which will activate efforts not only in Argentina and Mexico, but also Brazil, India and the United States.
ESPN Brazil’s distribution grew significantly with the addition of the ESPN HD network to the NET lineup and the addition of WatchESPN to the provider’s service offering (NET is part of Latin America’s largest telecommunications and pay television organizations). Online, Cabeça no Jogo debuted during Confederations Cup, a companion program with commentators commentating about the games. An alliance with Rádio Capital (1040 AM) was announced, to launch ESPN Radio in Greater São Paulo in July 2014. In October, ESPN aligned with Eletromidia, to provide sports content on digital media panels on public transportation and in shopping malls throughout Brazil, reaching more than six million people daily. In addition, the October launch of ESPN Sync saw the entry of the country’s first second-screen sports app, uniting programming, social networking, full interactivity and gaming in one location.
SALES & MARKETING
- Long-term agreements with AT&T U-verse and NRTC provide consumers broad access to the nation’s top sports, news and entertainment. The comprehensive agreements include more than 70 Disney networks and services – including many of ESPN’s linear and digital platforms, advances the successful multichannel business model and serves customers across multiple screens through access to new authenticated services.
- ESPN continued to grow its groundbreaking WatchESPN product, now available to 55 million homes. New deals also make the service available to the next-generation Xbox One console, as well as Roku devices and via Apple TV. The service also expanded to include live access to ESPN Deportes and ESPNEWS as well as curated short-form on-demand video clips.
- The Customer Marketing and Sales group continues to lead the marketplace in multi-platform advertising solutions and creativity, seeing unprecedented growth across mobile, social and digital platforms. Strategic sales partnerships were formed with AOL, Twitter and Microsoft XBox, among others, to take advantage of ESPN’s “always on” relationship with sports fans and ubiquity across screens. Its ongoing commitment to developing cutting-edge advertising experiences included the first-ever live commercials in the NBA Finals with Samsung, the first-ever Vine developed commercial units with Dunkin’ Donuts during ESPN Monday Night Countdown and native advertising concepts that build off television ad features, most notably Coors Light “Cold Hard Facts” in the SportsCenter Mobile App. The company hosted an ad-focused hackathon, with leading industry vendors and internal stakeholders across ESPN, which resulted in the implementation several new ad units across its digital properties .
- ESPN’s Consumer Marketing group continued to produce award-winning creative, with several campaigns recognized for exceptional creativity and effectiveness. The “It’s Not Crazy, It’s Sports” campaign took home a Sports Emmy Award for Institutional Campaign. ESPN also introduced a new campaign in support of flagship program SportsCenter called ‘DaDaDa’. The campaign focuses on the iconic sound all fans associate with the show and complements “This is SportsCenter,” the award-winning campaign now in its 18th year. Innovative social programs included an NCAA Tournament video starring social media star, Kid President; the selection of three new members into the Fan Hall of Fame; a unique stunt in which a kayaker served hot dogs to boaters in McCovey Cove during the LA Dodgers vs. San Francisco Giants game in May; and a Richard Swarbrick painted video that was unveiled during the NBA Finals.
- In 2013, ESPN released the first results from Project Blueprint, the first five-platform measurement initiative, launched in collaboration with Arbitron Inc. (NYSE: ARB) and comScore (NASDAQ: SCOR). The study was designed to measure changing consumption of video, audio and display content across radio, television, PCs, smartphones and tablets. The data confirmed that Project Blueprint’s hybrid approach can provide a multiplatform measurement solution with the scale and granularity necessary to meet the needs of the media and advertising industry. Several other media companies, agencies and advertisers have expressed support to test the next phase of Blueprint.
- Surveys of cable operators by Beta Research Corp. ranked ESPN and ESPN2 the top two major ad-supported cable nets in perceived value. ESPN was #1 for the 13th consecutive year, and for the ninth year in a row operators considered ESPN the most important network in selling broadband or interactive TV services.
At ESPN, technology has always been the key to enhancing the fan’s experience with sports. More and more, that means not only developing innovative enhancements to the look and sound of traditional telecasts, but focusing on the mobile experience. The group’s highlights in 2013:
- The new SportsCenter app launched in November to instantaneous acclaim from media and users.
- ESPN apps were designed and deployed for Samsung and Sony Smart TV’s (ScoreCenter, Next Level).
- The MIDAS telestration tool debuts on Baseball Tonight, helping analysts telestrate via tablet and control video
- A WatchESPN app was created and launched on the Samsung Smart TV.
- On SportsCenter, Google Glass technology debuted and a new LED monitor wall was unveiled, providing additional options for talent on the set.
- Monday Night Football’s new virtual effects graphics seamlessly merge live and taped segments during transitions from the remote site to the studio.
X GAMES / OWNED EVENTS
- After a competitive eight-month bid process, ESPN announced in July that Austin, Texas, would become the new host city of the X Games summer event for four years beginning in June 2014. X Games Aspen 2013 saw record attendance with 114,500 and set a single-day attendance record on Saturday, Jan. 26, with 47,200 spectators.
- ESPN Regional Television (ERT) owns and operates a large portfolio of collegiate sporting events worldwide through ESPN Events, which accounts for approximately 200 hours of programming, reaches almost 64 million viewers and attracts over a half a million attendees each year. ESPN Events acquired two college football bowl games: Famous Idaho Potato Bowl in Boise, Idaho, and the Heart of Dallas Bowl Presented by PlainsCapital Bank in Dallas-Fort Worth. The Charlotte-based group created two additional bowls to start in 2014: Boca Raton Bowl in Florida and the Raycom Media Camellia Bowl in Montgomery, Ala. Also, the AdvoCare Texas Kickoff – an opening weekend college football game in Houston – debuted on August 30 with Oklahoma State topping Mississippi. In college basketball, the Wooden Legacy event was formed by combining ERT-owned Anaheim Classic with the John R. Wooden Classic. The Champions Classic – the marquee men’s basketball doubleheader featuring Duke, Kansas, Kentucky and Michigan State – was renewed for three years. Also, the group added the Jimmy V Women’s Classic to its portfolio, having taken over the men’s annual doubleheader in 2012.
- In 2013, ESPN remained actively involved in core corporate outreach initiatives and philanthropic efforts. Most notably, ESPN and The Walt Disney Company announced a two-year global initiative to unite people with and without intellectual disabilities through Special Olympics Unified Sports, with a goal of registering one million participants by 2015.
- The Walt Disney Company and ESPN also made investments in the local community including a grant of $750,000 to Connecticut Children’s Medical Center Foundation and a grant of $100,000 to the American Red Cross of Connecticut and Rhode Island. Additionally, the Boys & Girls Club and Family Center of Bristol broke ground on a new facility slated to open in 2014, funded by a $1.4 million grant from ESPN.
- Throughout the year, ESPN raised more than $4.6 million for cancer research led by the 13th annual ESPY Celebrity Golf Classic, ESPN Radio’s “Don’t Give Up ESPYs V Foundation Auction” and the annual Jimmy V Week for Cancer Research. This year, ESPN and The V Foundation also teamed with St. Jude Children’s Hospital and NBA Cares in the fight against pediatric cancer.
- As part of ESPN’s award winning annual Veterans Week Salute to Our Heroes, nearly 100 Team ESPN volunteers in Connecticut, New York and Texas assembled more than 5,000 USO care packages for troops overseas, alongside volunteers from Pepsi and FedEx. ESPN also aligned with the NFL to make a contribution of $10,000 to the Wounded Warriors Project, earmarked for the organization’s Adaptive Sports program.
- Over the past year, 30 percent of all domestic employees volunteered at one of nearly 500 Team ESPN events. Collectively, Team ESPN spent more than 15,000 documented hours volunteering to improve the lives of those in local communities.
2013 in Review
Jan. 7 BCS National Championship (Alabama 42-14 over Notre Dame) tops last year’s game to be cable’s second-biggest audience (avg.: 26.4M viewers) and ESPN’s second-highest rating (17.5).
15 ESPN and AT&T U-verse announce a comprehensive agreement to deliver Disney’s sports, news and entertainment content across TV, internet, tablets and handheld devices, including several new services, including the full suite of authenticated WATCH products and ESPN3.
28 ESPN is named the best brand for Twitter engagement in 2012 by Track Social (avg. daily retweets: 3,564).
30 ESPN, ESPN.com and ESPN The Magazine each is rated best for brand strength in cable, web sites and print, respectively, in an Advertiser Perspectives survey.
30 ESPN is selected the top National TV Sales Organization in the annual Myers Survey of ad execs and ESPN leads all networks in “Plan to Boost Spending in 2013,” “Desirable Programming” and “Creative/Innovative Multi-platform Opportunities” in a Beta Survey.
Feb. 25 ESPN’s UK and Ireland TV channels business – primarily the ESPN and ESPN America channels and their live sports rights portfolio – will be purchased by BT Group (expected to close July 31).
27 ESPN and ESPN2 are ranked 1-2 in perceived value by cable operators in the Beta Research Survey, with ESPN taking the top spot for the 13th straight year and named the most important network in selling broadband services for the ninth consecutive year.
March 19 ESPN and the Big East Conference (soon renamed the American Athletic Conference) announce a multimedia, worldwide rights agreement for football, basketball and more through 2019-20, continuing a relationship of more than three decades.
March 20 ESPN and the Mountain West Conference announce an agreement for select football and basketball games starting this fall through the 2019-20 season.
28 ESPN and the WNBA announce a six-year agreement extending their relationship that includes 30 televised games annually.
May 2 ESPN and the Southeastern Conference announce a 20-year agreement to create and operate a TV and digital platforms to launch in August 2014 with 1,000 events annually. The existing media rights agreement is extended through 2034.
16 ESPN and the USTA announce an 11-year agreement giving ESPN exclusivity to tennis’ US Open beginning in 2015.
July 16 The 13th annual ESPY Celebrity Golf Classic, a Team ESPN event in Industry Hills, Calif., combined with ESPN Radio’s “Don’t Give Up ESPYs V Foundation Auction,” raised more than $1.9 million for The V Foundation for Cancer Research.
17 ESPN choses Austin, Texas, as the North American host city for the X Games, for four years beginning May 2014 at the 1,500-acre Circuit of The Americas sports/entertainment complex.
18 ESPN and the National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative (NRTC) announce an agreement to deliver Disney’s sports, news and entertainment content across TVs, computers, smartphones, tablets, gaming consoles and internet-enabled TVs in 48 states. The deal includes authenticated WATCH products, Longhorn Network and the upcoming SEC Network.
22 Renowned statistician and best-selling author Nate Silver joins ESPN, bringing his award-winning FiveThirtyEight.com. Silver will return to his sports roots while expanding his approach to include culture, economics, technology and politics.
Sept. 7 ESPN registers its most-viewed college football regular-season Saturday in history, an average of 5.5 million fans for nearly 15 hours.
9 ESPN’s highest-rated Monday Night Football opener, a 10.1 for Philadelphia at Washington.
30 ESPN Digital Media sets sports record with 72,700,000 unique users for September. Also, for the first time, more usage came from mobile devices than online computers.
Nov. 21 SportsCenter app debuts (replacing ScoreCenter, the most popular free sports app with 43 million downloads), with a comprehensive, personalized mix of scores, news, video and more.
Dec. 18 ESPN extends its agreement with TSN and RDS of Canada for exclusive access to thousands of hours annually of live sports events and news programming.
31 The Chick-Fil-A Bowl in Atlanta – with Johnny Manziel leading a comeback as Texas A&M downs Duke 52-48 – is ESPN’s most-watched non-BCS bowl game ever, 8,689,000 viewers.