ESPN grew its audience in the second quarter of the year, including a rise of 10% in prime time where all the key male and adult demo groups grew 6-12%.
ESPN’s prime-time audience was up in large part because of the NBA Playoffs. The network averaged 1,544,000 viewers (P2+), compared to 1,405,000 a year ago, according to Nielsen. Overall, the network’s audience rose fractionally, from 604,000 to 607,000. ESPN ranked as the top full-time cable network in total day audience among M18-34, M18-49, and M25-54.
Highlights in the second quarter of 2018:
- The NBA Playoffs on ESPN (19 games) averaged 5,144,000 viewers, up 30 percent from 2017. It is the second-most watched NBA Playoffs ever on ESPN (back to 2003).
- First Take led cable in all key male demos (18-34, 18-49 and 25-54) during its 10 a.m. – noon ET time slot, as it has done every month of 2018. The show’s audience is up 2% year to date.
- The NCAA baseball post-season (66 games across ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPNEWS) was up 15% to an average of 550,000 viewers, P2+).
- The WNBA on ESPN2 audience is up 39% after seven games (to 250,000), including the network’s most-viewed WNBA regular-season telecast since 2013.
- The midnight edition of SportsCenter was up 12% (to 744,000 impressions).
- The 6 p.m. of SportsCenter was up 5% (to 497,000 impressions).