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.

Go deeper

The next cliff for the unemployed

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A program supporting Americans who are typically ineligible for unemployment benefits will expire at the end of the year, with millions still relying on it as the labor market sputters.

Why it matters: The result could be catastrophic for the economic recovery that Wall Street fears is already fragile.

The apocalypse scenario

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Democratic lawyers are preparing to challenge any effort by President Trump to swap electors chosen by voters with electors selected by Republican-controlled legislatures. One state of particular concern: Pennsylvania, where the GOP controls the state house.

Why it matters: Trump's refusal to commit to a peaceful transfer of power, together with a widely circulated article in The Atlantic about how bad the worst-case scenarios could get, is drawing new attention to the brutal fights that could jeopardize a final outcome.

Federal judge rules Trump administration can't end census early

Census workers outside Lincoln Center in New York. Photo: Noam Galai/Getty Images

A federal judge ruled late Thursday that the Trump administration could not end the 2020 census a month early.

Why it matters: The decision states that an early end — on Sept. 30, instead of Oct. 31 — would likely produce inaccuracies and thus impact political representation and government funding around the country.

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