ESPN Australia pulls record audiences with US sports coverage

Local reporting on AFL trade week and the espnW section have also added to the growth

Gary Ablett Jr.

ESPN Australia has seen a surge in TV ratings and audience across ESPN.com during October. This was thanks to the return of the 2016-17 NBA season and the MLB World Series, and the NFL season, which is already in full swing.

October has delivered ESPN2 the highest-rated month on record with a 33% improvement over the channel’s previous record. Highlights include the NBA opening week with four doubleheader games and the MLB World Series featuring Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians, which drew record-breaking baseball audience on ESPN with Game 4 on Sunday 30 October.

The audience spike on TV was complemented by the network’s flagship digital property ESPN.com recording 35% YoY growth in unique users across October, and the highest number of pageviews and minutes since launching the Australian edition of the site in March 2016. ESPN.com registered 55 million minutes and 27 million pageviews in October to push the total ESPN Digital Network audience engagement to 148 million minutes and 105 million pageviews in October.

While a majority of the record digital audience has been driven by ESPN’s extensive US sports coverage on ESPN.com, local reporting on AFL trade week and the newly launched espnW section have added to the impressive growth.

The newly launched newsletters on Mondays and Fridays have more than 750,000 registered users.

ESPN.com has also seen strong growth across October for espnW – a dedicated section for women’s sport – that launched on 1 September. A new weekly newsletter has more than 200,000 registered women.

ESPN ANZ General Manager Haydn Arndt said “We listened to our fans and doubled our coverage of LIVE NBA, and we also delivered on our mission for ESPN.com to provide fans with dedicated and quality coverage of local sports. The audience we were able to engage with our AFL trade week live blog was outstanding, and October showed the first signs of what will continue to be really strong numbers across the Australian summer and into 2017.”

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