No. 1 digital media property in sports establishes new category records for total unique visitors per month (94.4 million), total minutes of usage (10.3 billion), average minute audience (239,000), mobile unique users (76.0 million), and minutes of mobile usage (6.7 billion); September was the most-streamed non-World Cup month for WatchESPN.
Driven by ESPN Fantasy Football and coverage of the NFL, College Football, MLB pennant races, and U.S. Open tennis, ESPN reached a record-setting 94.4 million unique visitors in the U.S. in September, topping the previous sports category record set by ESPN in January. ESPN now owns the top 14 all-time monthly unique visitor totals in the sports category, and 21 of the top 25.
Fans spent 10.3 billion minutes using ESPN digital properties, another category record and the first time a sports property topped the 10 billion minute mark.
ESPN also attracted 1.0 billion total visits, more than the Nos. 2 and 3 sports properties combined and the third time ESPN crossed the 1 billion visit threshold. No other sports property has ever reached 1 billion visits.
Overall, ESPN accounted for 31.7 percent of all sports category usage on digital platforms, more than the Nos. 2 and 3 properties combined (Yahoo! Sports-NBC Sports Network 20.0 percent, NFL Internet Group 10.1 percent).
ESPN’s 109.3 minutes per visitor was higher than any of the top 100 category properties.
In the average minute throughout September, 238,759 people used ESPN digital properties across platforms – more than the cable TV sports network audiences of the NFL Network (224,944), NBC Sports Network (154,471), Fox Sports 1 (120,524) Golf Channel (102,564), and MLB Network (98,280).1
Other results from the September comScore Multi-Platform report include:
- ESPN.com reached 74.9 million unique visitors across platforms over the course of the month, setting a new site high.
- FiveThirtyEight.com recorded its second largest monthly unique visitor total ever with 5.4 million.
- On mobile devices alone, 76.0 million unique users accessed ESPN content, setting a category record for mobile reach. Users spent 6.7 billion minutes with ESPN on mobile devices, also a record.
- 65 percent of ESPN’s unique users – 61.4 million people – exclusively accessed content on smartphones and tablets. Also, 65 percent of all time spent with ESPN digital content was consumed by mobile device users.
- ESPN reached 18.6 million average daily unique users on smartphones, up 25 percent from a year ago, and more than the Nos. 2 and 3 properties combined (Yahoo! Sports-NBC Sports Network 9.2 million, NFL Internet Group 7.2 million).
- ESPN accounted for three of the top five sports apps on smartphones and tablets in September in terms of unique users. The ESPN app was No. 1 with 20.6 million unique fans – a new record for sports app reach – accompanied by No. 3 WatchESPN (9.6 million) and No. 5 ESPN Fantasy Football (7.1 million).
- ESPN’s portfolio of apps reached 33.5 million unique visitors and generated 4.6 billion minutes of usage, more than any other sports media property. ESPN garnered 34 percent of all sports app usage.
A record-setting month for WatchESPN:
- 10.8 million unique devices streamed WatchESPN content in September, up 50 percent from a year ago. Viewers spent 2.2 billion minutes with programming across all platforms (up 92 percent). September marked the biggest non-World Cup month ever for WatchESPN.2
- College Football: The Ohio State-Virginia Tech game on September 7, 2015, became the most-streamed regular season College Football game of all-time on WatchESPN with 194,000 average minute impressions and a total of 708,000 unique viewers watching 41.9 million minutes throughout the game. Each of the four weeks of College Football on WatchESPN in September saw more streaming than any week a season ago with average live unique viewers up 66 percent (2.1 million) and total live minutes up 80 percent (176.3 million). The average game attracted an additional 16,000 average minute impressions to the TV audience, up 54 percent.2
- NFL: The Vikings-49ers game on September 14, 2015 was the most-streamed Monday Night Football game of all-time on WatchESPN with 229,000 average minute impressions (up 129 percent vs. the same Game 2 of the 2014 MNF opening double header), 840,000 live unique viewers (up 102 percent) and 40 million total minutes viewed (up 102 percent). Four of the top five highest MNF audiences ever on WatchESPN were recorded in September, averaging 707,000 unique viewers (up 84 percent vs. September 2014) watching 169.9 million live minutes (up 86 percent) and attracting an additional 212,155 average minute impressions to the TV audience (up 87 percent) per game.2
- U.S. Open: WatchESPN’s most watched tennis event ever across all metrics with the average day attracting an additional 37,000 average minute impressions to the TV audience (up 191 percent vs. 2014), 383,000 live unique viewers (up 180 percent) and 28.1 million live minutes viewed (up 267 percent). 2
Additional results from ESPN Research & Analytics:
- Fans watched 492.0 million ESPN digital video clips in September, ESPN’s highest monthly total ever, and up 17 percent from a year ago.2
- 60 percent of all ESPN digital video clips were viewed on computers, 36 percent on phones and tablets, and five percent on connected TVs.2
- Illustrating the remarkably strong appeal of fantasy football, seven of ESPN’s top 10 stories in September were related to fantasy football.2
1 Source: Nielsen Media Research, 9/1-9/30/15 (Total Day, Persons 2+)
2 Source: Adobe Analytics