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The Power Of Live

ESPN EVP, Programming Acquisitions and Scheduling, Burke Magnus writes: "Live events bring us scale that – when combined with the rest of our programing plus audio, digital offerings, ESPN+, social and more – makes ESPN a 'reach machine' that is unparalleled in the industry."

It’s never been more true. Live sports breaks through the clutter.

Just look at the stats.

In 2019, ESPN aired 13 of the top 14 most-watched shows on cable, including the top 10. The list is topped by last season’s College Football Playoff National Championship, followed by this season’s semifinals at Nos. 2 and 4 with a Monday Night Football game in between. (Plus, over our 40 years, ESPN claims 28 of the top 30 telecasts in cable history, including the top 13.)

Those semifinals and MNF boosted ESPN to lead all of television in prime-time audience for the week of Dec. 23-29.

In addition, in 2019 ESPN “won the night” among all networks – broadcast and cable – 47 times. In another 23 instances, ABC won the night with sports programmed and produced by ESPN.

With our leading lineup of prime-time live events – Monday Night Football, college football, NBA and Sunday Night Baseball – this television fact of life portends positively for our future.

Also enjoying increases in 2019 were all three of ESPN’s tennis Major events – Australian Open, Wimbledon and US Open; NCAA Basketball Champ Week; Women’s Final Four; NCAA Softball Tournament; NFL Draft; MLB Home Run Derby; MLS; Formula One and more.

Complementing our live events is the best daytime lineup of live studio shows, where we achieved many successes in 2019. The list of shows that increased their audience includes College GameDay, Sunday NFL Countdown, Monday Night Countdown, Get Up!, multiple editions of SportsCenter and Pardon the Interruption.

This combination helps us capture that most elusive of viewers, highly desirable to advertisers – no one in cable delivers more men 18-34 than ESPN. ESPN has been No. 1 in cable in delivering that demographic (as well as Men 18-49 and Men 25-54) for 14 straight years (since 2006) and 18 consecutive in prime time (since 2002).

Also, for a third straight year, we led cable in delivery of Adults 18-49, displaying our broad reach.

Live events bring us scale that – when combined with the rest of our programing plus audio, digital offerings, ESPN+, social and more – makes ESPN a “reach machine” that is unparalleled in the industry. Don’t expect any different in 2020.

Happy New Year!

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