ESPN’s Second Quarter Up 22% in Prime Time, Best Since 2014

ESPN's Second Quarter Up 22% in Prime Time, Best Since 2014

In the second quarter of 2022, ESPN rode the strength of the NBA and NHL playoffs, spring college sports and virtually across the board increases among SportsCenter and other studio shows to post its best viewership in prime time since 2014 – an average of 1.64 million people. That represents an increase of 22% over last year. In addition, the network led all of cable in total-day audience in the 18-49 demographic. For the overall audience (P2+), ESPN was up 4% to an average of 612,000, a high-water mark for the network since 2016.

ESPN’s NBA game telecasts in the three months averaged 83% more viewers than in 2021. The NHL was a strong addition to the lineup; for the quarter, the network’s average viewership was 89% higher than the 2021 schedule. WNBA games were up 15%, the WNBA Draft was up 20%, PGA Championship Golf coverage was up 12%, and the five Formula One races on ESPN were up 11%.

Spring college sports also performed well. The softball regular season was the best since 2018 and up 24% while the Regionals/Super Regionals were up 11%. Baseball’s Regionals/Super Regionals were up 20%, the men’s lacrosse title game was the most-viewed since 2013 and up 34% and the women’s championship was the most-viewed women’s game ever, up 381%.

In the studio there was virtually universal increases, led by NBA Today (up 38% vs. the time slot in 2021) and the 11 p.m. SportsCenter (up 25%). SportsCenter also saw its audience grow at 7 a.m., noon, 6 p.m. and midnight. Beyond the flagship program, every show enjoyed a larger audience than a year ago – from Get Up and First Take in the morning, to This Just In (compared to the time slot), NBA Today, NFL Live, Around the Horn and Pardon the Interruption (the most-watched studio show with an average of 625,000) in the afternoon.


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