Remember when ESPN was down 32 percent year-to-year, and everyone thought the network was ripe for the picking from their competitors? In fact, FS1 UFC analyst joked just last night about liking his coffee "stale and cold, just like the ratings at ESPN." The network would very much like you to remember that, and then kindly go shove it. ESPN's past month has been very, very good.
The network sent out a pointedly-addressed press release citing their ratings as being "up 13 percent since August 17." That would be the exact day that Fox Sports 1 debuted, and NBC premiered it's EPL coverage. ESPN is saying that its full-day average (1.21 million viewers) is up 13 percent "compared to the same four weeks a year ago (1.07 million)." Meanwhile, in primetime, the network is averaging 2.89 million, up 20 percent from that time period in 2012 (2.41 million).
What can these emboldening gains be attributed to? The network suggests five different events, in case you were wondering. Notre Dame-Michigan leading ESPN's most-watched college football Saturday ever, the Eagles-Redskins marking the highest-rated season-opening game since ESPN took over Monday Night Football, season highs for Sunday Night Baseball, excellent ratings for the U.S.-Mexico World Cup qualifier, and studio shows like NFL Live and NFL Insiders posting double-digit time period gains.
Oh, by the way, College GameDay is up an average of 20 percent since they've added an hour to the broadcast this season. As the old saying goes, everything has been suddenly coming up Milhouse at ESPN since Aug. 17. While Fox Sports 1 and NBCSN have shown encouraging signs since then, The Worldwide Leader would like you to know that it is doing fine, thanks. Honestly, I'm kind of shocked the press release didn't end with #YOLO.