ESPN’s New Year Starts Strong – Audience Rises in January

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ESPN’s New Year Starts Strong – Audience Rises in January

Two Decades atop Delivery of Valuable Male Audience

SportsCenter, Other Studio Shows Lead Competition

ESPN kicked off the new year in January by growing its audience in total day and prime time, largely due to the College Football National Championship, the Rose Bowl Game and continued growth of franchise studio shows.  All the while, ESPN continued its longstanding lead among cable networks in delivering the valuable young male audience.

For the month of January (December 30 – January 26) among full-time networks:

In total day:

  • ESPN was up 3% among total viewers (P2+).
  • ESPN was the #1 cable network among Men 18-34 for at least 20 consecutive years.
  • ESPN was the #1 cable network among Men 18-49 for 19 consecutive years.
  • ESPN was the #1 cable network among Men 25-54 for 17 consecutive years.
  • ESPN was the #1 cable network among Adults 18-34 for the past 11 consecutive years.
  • ESPN was the #1 cable network among Adults 18-49 and 25-54 for the past 10 consecutive years.

In prime time:

  • ESPN was up 10% among total viewers.
  • ESPN was the #1 cable network among Men 18+, 18-34, 18-49, and 25-54 for 11 consecutive years.
  • ESPN was the #1 cable network among Adults 18-34, 18-49, and 25-54 for the past 10 consecutive years.
  • ESPN was the #1 cable network among Kids 12-17 this January, and Boys 12-17 for the fourth consecutive year.
  • ESPN was the #1 cable network among Women 18-49.

College Football National Championship Megacast – Leads Live Events

  • Ratings Up: ESPN’s MegaCast production of LSU’s victory over Clemson delivered a 14.3 rating, up 4% from last year’s game. Solely on ESPN, the game generated a 13.9 rating, up 5%.
  • Reach Up: Nearly 47 million fans (46,906,000) watched a portion of LSU-Clemson, 883,000 more fans than last year’s Clemson-Alabama contest (46,023,000).
  • Share Up: Of the fans that were watching television, more of them were watching the CFP National Championship this year than last. ESPN’s share rose 12% among total viewers, 13% among Adults 18-49, and 15% among Adults 25-54 from last year.
  • The Rose Bowl Game Presented by Northwestern Mutual featuring Oregon vs. Wisconsin generated a multi-network audience of 16,304,000 viewers, the second most-watched non-Semifinal New Year’s Six game in the College Football Playoff era (24 games).
  • Zion Williamson’s NBA Debut (San Antonio at New Orleans) earned a 1.6 rating, tied for ESPN’s season’s best (non-Christmas).
  • The UConn-Tennessee women’s basketball game was the most-watched women’s game this season.

Studio Shows on the Rise (all increases are among P2+):

In January, weekday studio shows showed strength throughout the day.

  • The 11 p.m. ET edition of SportsCenter was up 28% in January (874,000 vs. 683,000).
  • Get Up increased for the 11th straight month, gaining 10% (412,000 vs. 374,000).
  • First Take was up 7% in January (491,000 vs. 460,000) and for its time slot (10 a.m. – noon), ESPN was the #1 cable network among all key male demos (18-34, 18-49, 25-54). It was also the #1 cable network among Viewers 18-49 and the #1 network across cable/broadcast among M18-34.
  • Driven by the noon SportsCenter, ESPN is the #1 cable network from 12-1:30P among all key male demos (18-34, 18-49, 25-54).
  • NFL Live was up 4% in January (379,000 vs. 365,000).
  • PTI saw a gain of 1% (849,000 vs. 841,000), climbing for nine of the last 10 months.
  • Driven by the 7 a.m. SportsCenter and Get Up, ESPN was the #1 cable network from 7-10 a.m. among Men 18-34 and Men 18-49.
  • Thanks to late-afternoon studio shows and the 6 p.m. SportsCenter, ESPN is the #1 cable network from Monday-Friday 4-7 p.m. among all key male and adult demos (18-34, 18-49, 25-54).
  • Driven by the late night editions of SportsCenter, ESPN is the #1 network (cable or broadcast) from 11 p.m. – 2 a.m. across all key male demos (18-34, 18-49 and 25-54), and the leading network – cable or broadcast – with adults 18-34 and 18-49.
  • Driven by SportsCenter, ESPN is the #1 cable network on the weekend from 7 a.m. – 1 p.m. across all key male demos (18-34, 18-49 and 25-54) and all key adult demos (18-34, 18-49 and 25-54).

 

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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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