ESPN History

Sports fans trust the ESPN brand

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Editor’s note: Barry Blyn is ESPN’s Vice President, Consumer Insights. In this post, Blyn shares what extensive research reveals about sports fans’ thoughts regarding ESPN.

There are numerous debates in sports that can’t be answered: LeBron or Kobe? Crosby or Ovechkin? Manning or Brady?

But the answer to one question is entirely clear: Sports consumers trust ESPN unequivocally and implicitly.

ESPN is the most widely-known brand in sports1 and the No. 1 favorite television network among men2 — in fact, ESPN is the favorite cable network among all adults. In Fall 2012, 113 million people watched, listened, read or logged onto ESPN-branded media each week. The average person spent 6 hours, 57 minutes each week with ESPN media.3

Why? For one thing, brand is the ultimate navigator and ESPN serves the fan across more platforms than any other media brand. ESPN serves the sports fan and does so with a unique personality and impeccable authority.

The authority or trust that ESPN has earned from sports fans is unmatched by any other brand. ESPN tracks the brand relentlessly thru surveys, focus groups, ethnographies and social media. All of these instruments point to the strength of that trust.

As the data above shows, 82 percent of avid sports fans see ESPN as “authentic and true to sports”; 81 percent say “ESPN is a reliable and credible source for sports news”; and 76 percent agree with the statement: “As a sports fan, I trust and rely on ESPN.”1

Similarly, 82 percent of avid sports fans agree, “ESPN is the voice of record on all things sports.”4

When it comes to matters of “trust,” “authority” and “integrity,” ESPN’s standing among fans is strong.

Further, ESPN’s score on each of these has improved, not diminished, over the past 5 years.

1 ESPN Brand Reach Telephone Survey, 1500 P12+, March 2012
2 ESPN TV Brand Telephone Survey, 1500 P18+, September 2012
3 ESPN All Day, Every Day, Telephone Survey, GfK, P13-64, Fall 2012
4 ESPN Brand Health Online Survey, sports fans 13-54, Q1-Q2 2012

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