ESPN Digital Media Sets New All-Time Records in October, Reaches 99 Million U.S. Fans

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ESPN Digital Media Sets New All-Time Records in October, Reaches 99 Million U.S. Fans

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Five new U.S. sports category records: 20.3 million daily smartphone users, 11.4 billion total minutes, 256,000 average minute audience, 8.5 billion mobile minutes, ESPN Fantasy App 3.5 billion minutes;
99.3 million total U.S. unique visitors second-largest ever for ESPN;
FiveThirtyEight sets site record with 14.9 million monthly unique visitors;
183 million mobile video views sets new ESPN record.

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Driven by ESPN Fantasy Football and coverage of the NFL, College Football, MLB playoffs and an historic World Series, ESPN reached 99.3 million unique visitors in the U.S. in October, the second-largest total ever for ESPN and up 8 percent over the same month a year ago. ESPN had 30.9 million more monthly unique visitors than No. 2 property CBS Sports, the third-largest margin of leadership in sports category history.

Fans spent a sports category record 11.4 billion minutes using ESPN digital properties, more than double the No. 2 property (Yahoo Sports-NBC Sports Network, 5.2 billion) and more than the Nos. 2, 3 and 4 properties combined (No. 3 NFL Internet Group, 2.8 billion; No. 4 CBS Sports, 2.0 billion).

ESPN also delivered an average minute audience of 256,000 to set a sports category record. This was more than double the No. 2 digital sports property (Yahoo Sports-NBC Sports Network, 116,000) also more than the comparable cable TV sports networks: NFL Network with 218,000 and NBC Sports Network with 154,000.1

ESPN accounted for 35.3 percent of all sports category usage on digital platforms, more than the Nos. 2, 3 and 4 properties combined (Yahoo! Sports-NBC Sports Network, 15.9 percent; NFL Internet Group, 8.7 percent; CBS Sports 6.2%). ESPN’s share of sports category usage marked the largest share any property since November 2014.

More results from the October comScore Multi-Platform report include:

ESPN in the U.S. media landscape:

  • ESPN reached 39 percent of all U.S. internet users in October.
  • ESPN was a top U.S. digital property on key performance indicators, including total monthly unique visitors (ranked 21st out of the more than 25,000 properties comScore measured), daily smartphone unique visitors (9th), total minutes (14th) and average minute audience (14th).
  • ESPN reached 8.2 million millennial males (age 18-34) on smartphones daily, ranking 6th among all U.S. digital properties. On that demographic, ESPN beat leading properties including Spotify (5.6 million), Pandora (4.9 million), Twitter (4.8 million), Reddit (1.3 million), and Buzzfeed (904K).
  • com set a site record in the last month of the U.S. Presidential Election race with 14.9 million monthly unique visitors and 254 million total minutes of usage, 11 times higher than the same month last year.

ESPN in the U.S. sports category:

  • ESPN reached 54 percent of all sports category users.
  • ESPN’s 115.1 minutes per visitor was the highest of the top 10 sports category properties.
  • ESPN reached a record-setting 20.3 million daily unique users on smartphones, more than the Nos. 2, 3 and 4 properties combined (Yahoo! Sports-NBC Sports Network, 7.7 million; NFL Internet Group, 6.5 million; CBS Sports, 5.4 million).
  • ESPN also led the sports category for daily unique visitors on desktop (6.2 million) and tablet (2.0 million).
  • reached 76.6 million unique visitors across platforms over the course of the month, making it the largest single entity, website or app, in the sports category.
  • On mobile devices alone, 80.1 million unique users accessed ESPN content, tops in the category by 24.6 million (CBS Sports, 55.5 million). Users spent 8.5 billion minutes with ESPN on mobile devices, shattering the category record for mobile time spent set last month.
  • 68 percent of ESPN’s unique users – 67.4 million people – exclusively accessed content on smartphones and tablets. A record-setting 74 percent of all time spent with ESPN digital content was consumed by mobile device users.
  • For the 9th consecutive month ESPN had the top 2 apps in the sports category in terms of monthly unique visitors. The ESPN App was No. 1 in the sports category for monthly unique users (15.6 million) and No. 2 for total minutes (1.4 billion). The ESPN Fantasy App was No. 1 in total minutes in sports category (3.5 billion) and No. 2 for monthly unique users (13.6 million).
  • The ESPN Fantasy App set a sports category record for total minutes of app usage.
  • ESPN’s portfolio of apps reached 32.5 million unique visitors and generated 6.4 billion minutes of usage, more than any other sports media property. ESPN garnered 42 percent of all U.S. sports app usage.

Additional results from ESPN Research & Analytics:

  • Fans watched 470.2 million ESPN on-platform digital video clips in October, ESPN’s second-largest monthly total ever (trailing last month’s record by just 6.1 million views) and up 10 percent from a year ago.2
  • 7 million unique devices streamed WatchESPN content in October, up 19 percent from a year ago. Viewers spent 2.4 billion minutes with programming across all platforms (up 27 percent).2


1 Source: Nielsen Media Research, 10/1-10/30/16 (Total Day, Persons 2+)
2 Source: Adobe Analytics


Kristie Adler

Kristie is Director of Communications. She graduated from Penn State University and is based in New York City.
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