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ESPN's live audience grows thanks to bars, airports, restaurants

ESPN audiences grew 9% in January and February, thanks to consumers watching the network on barstools and treadmills, instead of on living room couches.

According to data from Nielsen released Tuesday, the network saw increases in viewership across multiple live sports categories in January and February, boosting their overall live audience. Most notably:

  • +19% in College Football Live
  • +17% in NFL Live
  • +17% in NFL Insiders
  • +12% in College Basketball Regular Season
  • +10% in NBA Regular Season

Why it matters: U.S. households may be cutting the cord at a record pace, but out-of-home establishments, like hotels, bars, gyms, etc., are not. For ESPN, which lost 2 million subscribers last fiscal year, audience bumps outside of the household could help the network bring in more ad dollars. The data also shows that ESPN out-of-home audiences are more diverse, with a 6% higher reach into female audiences and a 5% higher reach into millennial audiences.