ESPN Leads Cable for Key Male Demos in September for 12th Straight Year


ESPN Leads Cable for Key Male Demos in September for 12th Straight Year

  • Monday Night Football, College Football Boost ESPN to Top of Key Male, Adult Demos
  • Studio Show Successes Throughout Weekdays: Get Up, 4-6 p.m. ET Block, SportsCenter at 6 p.m., Midnight
  • Total-Day Audience Grows in Third Quarter

ESPN led cable television in September among the key male and adult demographic groups for the 12th consecutive year, boosted by Monday Night Football, college football and Major League Baseball’s pennant races.  In addition, recent changes to the weekday studio show schedule have produced early positive results.

Leading Cable in Key Demos, Winning the Night

ESPN was the top full-time cable network in the month (September 4 – 30) for Men 18-34, 18-49 and 25-54, as well as Adults in the same three age ranges.  Overall, ESPN was the third most-watched network, behind FOX News Channel and MSNBC.

In prime time, ESPN led in all six of those groups for the 13th consecutive year.  Overall, ESPN trailed only Fox News Channel.

In addition, since the start of the football season and including ESPN on ABC’s Saturday Night Football, ESPN has “won the night” – led all networks, cable or broadcast, in overall audience (P2+) – 11 times.  Six times it was college football, four times it was NFL (all four weeks of Monday Night Football) and the latest is last night’s MLB Wild Card game, Milwaukee defeating the Chicago Cubs.

Studio Show Successes with New Schedule

  • Now airing at 8 a.m., Get Up grew its audience 3% vs. SportsCenter a year ago (Sept. 3-28, 2018 vs. Sept. 4-29, 2017).
  • Now starting with High Noon, the 4-6 p.m. block of discussion programs was up 5% since the change on September 11, compared to the same two hours a year ago.
  • High Noon is averaging 43% more viewers than it did its last month airing at noon (341,000 vs. 239,000).
  • The SportsCenter edition at 6 p.m. and the late-night edition at midnight continue to grow. For the month, the two shows were up 14% and 7% vs. last year, respectively.
  • Scott Van Pelt’s edition of SportsCenter continues to lead late-night television in delivering young men. It has led all shows at that time of day – broadcast or cable – among M18-34 for eight consecutive quarters, and 11 of the last 12 (since he began hosting).

Audience Grows for the Quarter

For the third quarter (July 2 – September 30), ESPN grew its total-day audience 2% over last year.




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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