Strong Increases from ESPN Studio Shows throughout the Day in May

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Strong Increases from ESPN Studio Shows throughout the Day in May

  • SportsCenter, Get Up! Lead the Way
  • ESPN Leads Cable in Delivering Young Men

In May, ESPN’s studio shows — stretching from morning through afternoon to late night – posted strong increases in audience (P2+), according to Nielsen.  The increases were led by the 11 p.m. ET edition of SportsCenter (+29%) and morning’s Get Up! (+22%).

Also, for many of the dayparts ESPN led cable – if not all of television – in delivering the key young male demos.  In fact, ESPN led cable in total day delivery of men 18-34 and 18-49.

“Nothing draws the viewer to the screen like sports, and that includes the smart, lively studio shows we offer throughout each day,” said Norby Williamson, ESPN executive vice president, production and executive editor.  “Led by our signature sports news franchise, SportsCenter, the best in highlights, opinion and discussion stand out versus the competition.” 

Increases all Day Long

  • For the third straight month the 7 a.m. SportsCenter was up, growing +18% in May vs. the comparable 7-8 a.m. daypart last year (333K vs. 282K).  The show also saw a gain of +16% in May among P18-49 (179K vs. 154K).
  • In May, Get Up! was also up for its third consecutive month, increasing +22% vs. the comparable 8-10 a.m. daypart in the month last year (341K vs. 279K).  This follows a +30% increase in April.
  • First Take saw an increase for the second straight month, growing +5% year over year in May (442K vs. 421K).
  • The noon SportsCenter gained +4% in May vs. 2018 (338K vs. 326K) and Outside the Lines that follows at 1 p.m. posted an increase of +3% (276K vs. 267K).
  • The 5-6 p.m. hour also grew in May.  Around the Horn saw gains of +3% (486K vs. 470K), and Pardon the Interruption – which recently won its third Sports Emmy Award as TV’s best daily sports studio show – increased for its second straight month at +9% (740K vs. 676K).
  • The 6 p.m. edition of SportsCenter – hosted by Kevin Negandhi and Sage Steele for one year as of May 14 – was up +5% (510K vs. 486K). The show has increased its audience in 11 of the 13 months since the duo teamed together.
  • Late night editions of SportsCenter had a strong month in May.  The 11 p.m. edition was up +29% for the month (626K vs. 486K) and the 1 a.m. show was up +15% (568K vs. 493K).  Both shows also showed an increase among viewers 18-49 – the 11 p.m. was up +24% (321K vs. 258K) and the 1 a.m. was up +10% (317K vs. 289K).
  • The Saturday and Sunday morning SportsCenter shows also showed gains.  Combined, the shows from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. increased +4% (545K vs. 522K) vs. last year.

 Leading among Young Men

  • Driven by SportsCenter at 7 a.m. and Get Up!, ESPN leads cable from 7 a.m.-10 a.m. among M18-34 and M18-49 and P18-49.
  • Thanks to First Take, ESPN is the No. 1 cable network from 10 a.m.-noon across all key male demos.  It is also the top network (cable or broadcast) among M18-34.
  • ESPN is also the No. 1 network (cable or broadcast) among M18-34 during the noon SportsCenter.  The show is also best on cable among M18-49 and M25-54.
  • ESPN leads cable from 4-6 p.m. – High Noon, Highly Questionable, Around the Horn and Pardon the Interruption – across all key male demos (18-34, 18-49 and 25-54) and took the top spot among M18-34 for any network (cable or broadcast).
  • Driven by the late night editions of SportsCenter, ESPN is the No. 1 network (cable or broadcast) from 11 p.m.-2 a.m. across all key male demos.  It is also the #1 network (cable or broadcast) among P18-34 and P18-49.
  • The weekend editions of SportsCenter boosted ESPN to be the leading cable network from 7 a.m.-1 p.m. across all key male demos (18-34, 18-49 and 25-54).  It is also the #1 network (cable or broadcast) among M18-34.




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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