ESPN Grows Audience in Second Quarter; Prime Time up 10 Percent

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ESPN Grows Audience in Second Quarter; Prime Time up 10 Percent

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).

 

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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 upcoming America’s Cup in Australia. I was told it would be 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, network-wide ratings (by month/quarter/year), and corporate communications documents, including fact sheets, chronologies, lists and nearly 35 of the Year in Review press releases. UPDATE EXACTLY ONE YEAR LATER: Today, November 11, 2022, I am retiring from ESPN -- 36 years to the day I began. As I ride off into the sunset – top down and E Street Radio blaring – I do so with so many wonderful memories, proud of my contributions and a heart full of gratitude for the opportunity. 
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