Content media

ESPN is looking to expand its audience with a greater selection of content

Viewing of women’s sports on ESPN grew 26% to more than 72 million viewers, with viewership split between 53% male and 47% femaleESPN Pictures

ESPN “seeks to grow further by reaching untapped audiences through a more robust content offering,” following a “historic year” that saw the company secure rights deals with the NHL, MLB, NFL and more , according to ADWEEK’s Mollie Cahillane. ESPN President Jimmy Pitaro said: “One of our main goals also continues to grow our audience, and that means increasing our efforts to reach younger, female, multicultural and casual fans, in addition, of course, grassroots sports fans.” ESPN is “up 30% in total daytime viewership and 42% in prime time this year”, but Pitaro “believes there is still more room for expansion”. Pitaro said, “Live sports are a differentiator, it’s as simple as that. They are the needle engine.” ESPN spent “a lot of time” during a virtual Disney Sports Summit initial presentation “highlighting the strength of the NFL.” The network also “highlighted its women’s initiatives and the strength of its women’s sports programming.” Viewing of women’s sports on ESPN “increased 26% to more than 72 million viewers, with viewership split between 53% male and 47% female”. Disney/Sports Brands Solutions Vice President Deidra Maddock said the company is “working to build on this momentum in the Disney sports universe.” The networks will now have “more than 12,600 live women’s sports events totaling more than 26,000 hours of coverage, including an expanded WNBA postseason, more NCAA championships than ever before, and 40% of programming on ESPN+ dedicated to women’s sports”. This approach “also attracts brands”. Google has “partnered with Disney for the WNBA regular season and playoffs,” and State Farm has signed on as “game sponsor for ESPN Fantasy Women’s Basketball, the first fantasy game of a season dedicated to a major women’s sport” (ADWEEK.com, 4/6).