ESPN Digital Media Caps Industry’s Best Year in Sports Category History with 88 million U.S. fans in December 2014

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ESPN Digital Media Caps Industry’s Best Year in Sports Category History with 88 million U.S. fans in December 2014

Throughout 2014, U.S. sports fans visited ESPN digital media products 9.97 billion times, consumed 82.8 billion minutes of content, streamed WatchESPN programming for 12.9 billion minutes, viewed ESPN video clips 4.8 billion times, and spent 28.5 billion total minutes on ESPN mobile apps.

Click to view info graphic.
Click to view info graphic.

Driven by the NFL playoff race, late season fantasy football, college football’s conference championships and bowl season, and the NBA regular season, ESPN Digital Media reached 88.4 million unique visitors in the U.S. in December (up 36 percent from a year ago) to end the all-time best year in terms of traffic and usage in sports category history, according to comScore’s Multi-Platform Data.

Category leadership by ESPN Digital Media in 2014 was comprehensive and record setting:

ESPN Digital Across Platforms1:

  • ESPN averaged 76.8 million unique visitors per month in 2014, 14.1 million more than No. 2 property Yahoo Sports-NBC Sports Network.
  • For each day throughout the year, ESPN averaged 18.4 million unique users, 7.2 million more than No. 2 Yahoo Sports-NBC Sports Network, which averaged 11.2 million
  • Sports fans visited ESPN Digital Media products 9.97 billion times over the course of the year – over 1 billion visits more than the Nos. 2 and 3 properties combined (Yahoo Sports-NBC Sports Network at 5.58 billion and Bleacher Report-Turner Sports Network at 3.17 billion).
  • Users spent 82.8 billion minutes with ESPN digital media content – the equivalent of 157,595 years and nearly 9 billion more minutes than the Nos. 2, 3 and 4 properties combined (Yahoo Sports-NBC Sports Network at 37.5 billion, Bleacher Report-Turner Sports Network at 20.8 billion, and NFL Internet Group at 15.9 billion).
  • ESPN established a new sports category high for monthly unique visitors three times (June, August and September).
  • ESPN’s traffic in seven months of 2014 account for the top seven months all-time in the sports category for monthly unique visitors: September (94.0MM), November (90.8MM), October (89.1MM), December (88.4MM), August (82.4MM), June (80.7MM), and July (74.8MM).
  • ESPN finished No. 1 in the sports category for monthly unique visitors and total minutes of usage 11 times in 2014.
  • In November ESPN set a sports category record with 25.9 million average daily unique visitors across computers, smartphones and tablets, and set a new category high five times during the year.
  • The last nine months of the year (April-December) more than half of ESPN’s monthly users came exclusively from mobile devices.
  • ESPN also had nine months in which more than half its total minutes of usage came from mobile devices (January, May-December).

ESPN Apps1:

  • ESPN’s portfolio of mobile apps averaged 21.7 million monthly unique users, nearly thee times the average monthly reach of the No. 2 app portfolio, NFL Internet Group (7.9 million).
  • ESPN’s mobile apps amassed 28.5 billion total minutes of usage over the course of the year – 2.5 billion more minutes than the Nos. 2 through 5 properties, combined (Bleacher Report-Turner Sports Network at 9.8 billion, Yahoo Sports-NBC Sports Network at 7.4 billion, NFL Internet Group at 4.8 billion, and MLB at 4.0 billion).
  • ESPN’s SportsCenter app had the most monthly unique users among sports category apps in every month of 2014, setting a category record with 15.2 million unique users in October.
  • The ESPN Fantasy Football app set a sports category record with 1.7 billion minutes of usage in September, and led the category in total minutes of usage in September, October and November.

ESPN Video2:

  • ESPN video clips were viewed 4.8 billion times, up 28 percent from the year prior.
  • ESPN set an all-time monthly high with 456.6 million video views in June.
  • ESPN saw more than 400 million video clip views in eight different months.
  • ESPN platforms generated 978.0 million video views on smartphones and tablets, up 47 percent from last year.

WatchESPN2:        

  • WatchESPN averaged 6.5 million monthly unique devices viewing content, up 70 percent from 2013.
  • Viewers streamed WatchESPN programming for 12.9 billion minutes, 7.2 billion more minutes than the year before (up 126 percent).
  • WatchESPN saw more than 1 billion minutes of streaming in five different months.

ESPN Social TV3:

  • ESPN networks and ABC sports television content generated 238 million tweets in 2014 (up 57 percent over 2013), accounting for 17 percent of all TV-related activity during the year.
  • Tweets about ESPN networks accounted for nearly half (43 percent) of all social TV conversation about sports programming during 2014.
  • 13 of the 25 most-tweeted-about TV episodes of the year were ESPN/ABC Sports content.
  • ESPN was the No. 1 most-tweeted-about TV network, broadcast or cable, with 151 million tweets about ESPN programming during 2014. No other network generated more than 100 million.

December 2014

December marked the fourth-largest monthly total for unique U.S. users (88.4 million) in sports category history, trailing only ESPN’s September, October and November 2014.

DigitalStats14.12ESPN reached 23.1 million U.S. people daily across devices in December, up from 6.2 million a year ago, and more than the Nos. 2 and 3 sports properties combined (Yahoo Sports-NBC Sports Network at 11.9 million, NFL Internet Group at 9.0 million). 26 percent of ESPN’s total monthly users visited the property on a daily basis, a higher daily return rate than any of the top sports category properties.

On mobile devices alone, 67.8 million unique users accessed ESPN web and app content, up from 42.7 million a year ago. ESPN mobile visitors generated 5.2 billion minutes of usage, more than the next five mobile sports properties combined.

61 percent of ESPN’s unique users – 53.5 million people – exclusively accessed content on smartphones and tablets. This is the ninth consecutive month that more than half of ESPN’s digital users came only from mobile devices.

Fans spent 8.2 billion minutes using ESPN digital properties, a sports category record for the month of December, and up 15 percent from a year ago. Overall, ESPN accounted for 34.5 percent of all sports category usage on digital platforms, more than the Nos. 2, 3 and 4 properties combined (Yahoo! Sports-NBC Sports Network had 14.3 percent, Fox Sports Digital-Sporting News Media had 10.4 percent, and NFL Internet Group had 8.8 percent).

More results from the December comScore Multi-Platform report:

  • ESPN reached 7.7 million millennial male unique visitors (aged 18-34) in the average day, ranking seventh among the nearly 18,000 U.S. digital properties reported by comScore. ESPN ranked ahead of properties such as Amazon (7.4 million), Pandora (6.7 million), Imgur (4.0 million), and Twitter (3.7 million), among others.
  • 63 percent of all time spent with ESPN digital content was consumed by mobile device users, the eighth consecutive month that smartphones and tablets contributed a larger share of usage to ESPN’s digital total than desktop and laptop computers.
  • 1 million people used ESPN.com across devices, up 25 percent from a year ago, with 46.5 million people visiting ESPN.com via smartphones and tablets.
  • ESPN accounted for three of the top four sports apps on smartphones and tablets in December. ESPN’s SportsCenter app topped the category for unique visitors (14.5 million), accompanied by No. 3 WatchESPN (6.8 million) and No. 4 ESPN Fantasy Football (6.7 million).
    • In terms of total minutes the ESPN SportsCenter app led the category with 839 million minutes of usage, followed by the ESPN Fantasy Football app (727 million) at No. 2.
    • ESPN’s portfolio of apps generated 3.2 billion minutes of usage (more than the next five properties combined) and accounted for 47 percent of all time spent with apps in the sports category.

Additional results from ESPN Research & Analytics:

  • 8 million unique devices streamed WatchESPN and ESPN3 content in December (up 40 percent from a year ago), as viewers spent 927 million minutes with programming across all platforms (up 70 percent).2
    • ESPN3 was the second most-streamed network on the WatchESPN platform (trailing only ESPN), racking up 205 million minutes of viewing (up 35 percent over 2013).2
  • Fans watched 417.1 million ESPN digital video clips in December across all platforms, up 10 percent from a year ago. December marked the eighth straight month ESPN saw more than 400 million clips viewed.2
    • 67 percent of all ESPN video clips were viewed on computers, 26 percent on phones and tablets, and six percent on connected TVs.2

1 Source: comScore Multi-Platform
2 Source: Adobe Analytics
3 Source: Nielsen SocialGuide

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