ESPN Audio: Nearly Half of Sports Radio Listenership

ESPN Audio

ESPN Audio: Nearly Half of Sports Radio Listenership

  • Edison Survey: Almost 50 Million People per Week Tune to ESPN Audio


ESPN Audio’s content – the ESPN Radio Network’s national talk shows and live events, affiliated local broadcast radio stations and podcasting – accounts for nearly half (46%) of all sports radio listenership in the U.S., according to the most recent “Share of Ear” survey by Edison Research.

In addition, the survey showed that one in five reported listening to ESPN Audio’s programming weekly – nearly 50 million Americans.

Among ESPN Audio listeners, 71% listened on terrestrial AM/FM radio, the highest percentage.  Forty-six percent of listeners said that they listened via streaming audio while 26% used SiriusXM and 25% listened to podcasts.  (Numbers add up to more than 100% as users could cite multiple choices.)  In addition, time spent listening climbed in 2017 for all four platforms.

ESPN Radio’s weekday national talk show lineup is highlighted by Golic and Wingo which debuted in November, The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz, The Stephen A. Smith Show and The Will Cain Show which debuted in January.  The network’s live event lineup is highlighted by the NFL, NBA including an extensive playoff schedule including The NBA Finals, college football including most bowl games and The College Football National Championship, college basketball, Major League Baseball including the entire playoffs and World Series.

“ESPN provides premium voices and premium sporting events across as many devices as possible so it’s exciting to see that sports fans spend half their time with us,” said John Fitzgerald, vice president, multimedia sales ESPN Audio. “In a fragmented media world SHARE matters.  We work diligently with our advertisers to use that to drive performance for their brands and will continue to look for ways to engage with sports fans and their consumers.”

Edison President Larry Rosin commented, “ESPN consistently remains a major player in sports listening, reaching nearly one-fifth of Americans every week through their audio content – broadcast radio, satellite radio, streaming, and podcasts.”


Edison’s Share of Ear is a nationally representative study conducted of Americans ages 13 and older to measure their time spent listening to audio sources.  The study is conducted quarterly, and the most recent report was conducted November 9-21, 2017.  It included 2,169 respondents (in English and Spanish). Respondents were asked to complete a 24-hour diary recording their audio listening on an assigned day, with data collected both online and offline.

About ESPN Radio

ESPN Radio, the country’s largest sports radio network, ESPN Deportes Radio,, and ESPN Podcasts comprise ESPN Audio.

ESPN Radio, which launched January 1, 1992, provides more than 9,000 hours of talk and event content annually on 500 nationwide stations, including more than 375 full-time affiliates and clearance in the top 25 markets.  ESPN owns and/or operates stations in New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago.  ESPN Radio programming is also available on SiriusXM and via digital distributors Apple Music, Slacker Radio and TuneIn.

ESPN Audio launched its first podcast in 2005, and in December 2017 reached five million people, ranking ESPN fourth among podcast producers in America (per Podtrac).  The most popular titles include Fantasy Focus Football, The Lowe Post and FiveThirtyEight Politics, as well as podcast versions of The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz, First Take, Pardon the Interruption and Around The Horn.

About Edison Research:

Edison Research conducts survey research and provides strategic information to a broad array of clients, including Activision, AMC Theatres, Disney, Dolby Laboratories, Google, Gulf News, the U.S. International Broadcasting Bureau, Pandora, Samsung, Siemens, Sony, Time Warner and Yahoo. Edison Research works with many of the largest American radio ownership groups, including Bonneville, Emmis, Entercom, CBS Radio and Radio One. Another specialty for Edison is its work for media companies throughout the world, conducting research in North America, South America, Africa, Asia, and Europe. Edison Research is the sole provider of election exit poll data for the National Election Pool. Edison is also the leading provider of consumer exit polling and has conducted face-to-face research in almost every imaginable venue.




Dave Nagle

As I write this on 11-11-21, it's now 35 years for me at ESPN, the only real job I’ve ever had. I joined merely to help with the America’s Cup for three months at all of $5.50 per hour. I like to say I simply kept showing up. I’ve worked on almost every sport, plus answered viewer calls and letters (people used to write!), given tours, written the company newsletter and once drove NASCAR’s Jeff Gordon to the local airport. My travels have been varied…I’ve been to Martinsville, Darlington, Indy and Super Bowls; the America’s Cup (all 3) in San Diego and College GameDay in the sport’s meccas such as Eugene, Auburn, Lubbock, Stillwater and more; the NBA Finals, Wimbledon (16 times and counting) and the “other Bristol,” the one with a race track in Tennessee. These days, my main areas are tennis, UFC, boxing, ratings, and corporate communications documents, including more than 30 of the Year in Review press releases.
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