Men’s College Basketball: ESPN’s 36th Season is its Second Most-Viewed

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Men’s College Basketball: ESPN’s 36th Season is its Second Most-Viewed

  • 1,714 Exclusive Games across Television and Digital Platforms
  • ESPN and ESPN2 Televise Season’s Five Most-Viewed Games across All Networks
  • ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU’s 622 Games Average 475,000 Viewers; WatchESPN Generates 607,000,000 Live Minutes Viewed
  • Louisville Makes it a Baker’s Dozen with Metered Market Record

ESPN’s 36th consecutive year of men’s regular-season college basketball averaged 1,376,000 viewers, the network’s second most-viewed season on record and only 78,000 viewers fewer than the previous high set last year. ESPN also set an industry-record for exclusive games, carrying 1,714 men’s contests across ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN3, ESPNEWS, SEC Network, SEC Network+ and Longhorn Network. Highlights:

Five Most-Viewed Games of Season and an ESPN2 Record
ESPN and ESPN2 combined to televise the five most-viewed games this season on any network and were the only networks with telecasts that averaged more than three million viewers. ESPN’s two Duke vs. North Carolina contests took the top two spots with the March 7 game averaging 4,241,000 viewers and the February 18 telecast averaging 4,136,000 viewers.

In addition to being the season’s third most-viewed game, ESPN2’s 3,495,000 viewers for Kentucky at Louisville on December 27 is also the network’s most-viewed men’s college hoops game ever. The remaining top five were on ESPN: Duke at Virginia on January 31 averaged 3,489,000 viewers and Kentucky at Florida on February 7 averaged 3,267,000 viewers.

669 Television Games Averages 448,000 Viewers
An extensive schedule of 669 exclusive games on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPNEWS – at least one telecast on all but nine days from November 14 to March 8 – averaged 448,000 viewers. Overall, the four networks combined to reach 114,932,000 viewers.

Audience Records for WatchESPN
The 1,714 games on WatchESPN – every exclusive contest on an ESPN television and digital platform – generated 607,000,000 minutes viewed, up 56 percent over 2013-14. Overall, 2014-15 produced WatchESPN’s four most-viewed regular-season men’s college basketball games ever: North Carolina at Duke on February 18 (219,000 unique viewers), Kentucky at Georgia on March 3 (168,000), Kentucky at Louisville on December 27 (158,000) and Duke at North Carolina on March 7 (150,000).

Louisville’s 13th Year as Top Market Sets Record for Highest Season Average of Any Market
ESPN telecasts in Louisville averaged a metered market-leading 5.9 rating, its 13th straight year at the top and the largest regular-season average for the sport on ESPN in any market on record. Greensboro, with a 3.0 average rating, ended the season with the second highest rating for the fourth consecutive year. Raleigh-Durham (2.7) and Kansas City (2.4) – which were tied for second last season — were the third and fourth top markets, respectively this year. The remaining top 10: Columbus (2.1), Cincinnati (1.9), Dayton (1.9), Indianapolis (1.8), Charlotte (1.8) and Memphis (1.8).

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