“The Last Dance” Premieres Continue To Inspire Significant Audiences, Averages 5.6 Million Viewers Across First 8 Episodes

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“The Last Dance” Premieres Continue To Inspire Significant Audiences, Averages 5.6 Million Viewers Across First 8 Episodes

Episodes 7 and 8 Average 5.1 Million Viewers; Audiences Soar to Average of 12.2 Million with Additional Airings and Reporting

“The Last Dance” continues to be viewed by an extensive audience week after week, averaging 5.6 million viewers across premieres of its first eight episodes, based on initial Nielsen reporting. The significant audiences across four separate Sundays is 57% more viewers than the next-closest documentary debut on ESPN (“You Don’t Know Bo” in 2012). On Sunday, May 10th, Episodes 7 and 8 averaged 5.1 million viewers across ESPN & ESPN2 from 9-11 p.m. ET, with episode 7 (9-10 p.m.) averaging 5.3 million viewers and episode 8 (10-11 p.m.) averaging 4.9 million viewers, based on initial Nielsen reporting. 

Since sports halted in mid-March, ESPN has aired the 10 most-viewed sports telecasts, with all eight episode premieres of “The Last Dance” ranking among them. 

Following each premiere episode, the audience for “The Last Dance” continues to grow with video on demand, DVR viewing and through encore presentations. Accounting for all airings, episodes 1-6 have an average viewership of 12.2 million. Additional reporting for episodes 7 and 8 will be available this week.

Episode Viewership*
Episode 1 13,748,000
Episode 2 13,891,000
Episode 3 12,646,000
Episode 4 13,189,000
Episode 5 10,255,000
Episode 6 9,378,000

*Viewership includes DVR and Re-airs through 5/7 and VOD through 6am 5/11.

The top five metered markets for episodes 7 and 8 included: Chicago (11.6 rtg), Greensboro, N.C. (5.7 rtg.), Raleigh-Durham (4.6 rtg.), Nashville (4.4 rtg.), and Columbus (4.2 rtg.).

“The Last Dance” on social:

“The Last Dance” drove more social video views than any other program yesterday with 6.8M total views. The series again catapulted to the Top Trend on Twitter along with numerous storylines making their way into the top 20 throughout the night.

Grand Finale

The final two episodes of “The Last Dance” will air on ESPN (TV-MA) & ESPN2 (TV-14) on Sunday, May 17th from 9-11pm ET.

Please Note: All audience numbers from the Sunday premieres are based on Nielsen’s live + same day fast national reporting.


Isabelle Lopez

Based in New York City, Isabelle Lopez is a Communications Associate Director for ESPN Films and Original Content. Her projects include the critically-acclaimed 30 for 30 documentary series and The ESPYS, among others.
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