ESPN Studio Shows Deliver Audience Growth in October

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ESPN Studio Shows Deliver Audience Growth in October

Young Audiences Keep ESPN atop Key Male Demos

ESPN studio shows increased their audience in October to continue monthly streaks, notably for Get Up, First Take, Pardon the Interruption and select editions of SportsCenterSunday NFL Countdown and NFL Monday Night Countdown were also up for the month.

In addition, ESPN led the month among full-time cable networks for the six primary demo groups (Men and People, 18-34, 18-49 and 25-54) in total day, including the three male demo groups for at least the 20th consecutive October and the three people categories for at least 10 straight years.  In addition, ESPN was up 6% in prime time thanks to college football and led cable in the six groups.  ESPN was also tops among total viewers, viewers 18+, Boys 12-17 and Women 18-49.

For the month of October (September 30 – October 27, all % are P2+):

  • October was very strong for the 11 p.m. SportsCenter which saw viewership rise 70%. Driven by the late-night SportsCenter editions, ESPN is the leading network (cable or broadcast) from 11 p.m. – 2 a.m. ET among M18-34, M18-49 and P18-34.  It is also the top cable network across all key male and person demos (18-34, 18-49 and 25-54).
  • Sunday NFL Countdown was up 20% and NFL Monday Night Countdown was up 9%.
  • Get Up continued its monthly streak of growth, now standing at eight straight, thanks to an increase of 5%.  Between the 7 a.m. SportsCenter and Get Up, ESPN leads cable from 7 – 10 a.m. among men 18-34 and 18-49.
  • First Take also kept its monthly streak going to a seventh consecutive month of growth with a 1% increase.  Its young audience keeps ESPN the leader on cable for all the key male demos (18-34, 18-49 and 25-54) for the time slot.  In fact, it is the top network (cable or broadcast) with Males 18-34 from 10 a.m. – noon.  The Monday, Oct. 21, edition of First Take – the start of the show’s special NBA tip-off week from ESPN’s Los Angeles Production Center – was the most-watched of the month and up 14 percent over the comparable Monday in 2018. The episode also featured special guests including Pro Football Hall of Famer Michael Irvin.
  • Pardon the Interruption was up 3% and has risen in six of the last seven months.
  • The weekend SportsCenter AM continued its strong pace, growing for a sixth straight month in October, up 3%.  With that performance, ESPN leads all cable on Saturdays and Sundays from 7 a.m. – 1 p.m. across all key male and person demos.
  • College GameDay remains on pace to top last year’s average audience for both the three-hour show and the 11 a.m. – noon final hour.


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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