attends ESPN The Party on February 5, 2016 in San Francisco, California.

ESPN starts 2017 as it ended 2016, as the most watched cable network in primetime

The start of 2017 was very good to ESPN. Thanks to the Rose Bowl, Sugar Bowl, NFL Wild Card Playoff and the Cotton Bowl, the Worldwide Leader landed on top of the cable weekly rankings for the period from January 2 to January 8.

Overall, the most-watched program for the week was the Rose Bowl with 15.7 million viewers. And of the ten most watched programs for the week, ESPN had the top seven spots. Spots 8-10 were taken by The O’Reilly Factor of Fox News.

For the week, ESPN averaged 3.2 million viewers in primetime. Fox News was next with 2.4 million viewers followed by HGTV averaging 1.7 million. TBS, Discovery and USA tied for fourth with 1.5 million viewers.

Even with ESPN losing subscribers, those who still have cable and satellite value live sports that the the network brings and it paid off in the last week of 2016 with the College Football Playoff Semifinals and the season finale of Monday Night Football as well as in the first week of 2017.

Here are the most watched programs on cable for last week:

1. Rose Bowl (1/2) — ESPN (15.7 million viewers)
2. College Football Studio Show (1/2) — ESPN (9.5 million viewers)
2. Sugar Bowl (1/2) — ESPN (9.5 million viewers)
4. NFL Wild Card Playoff (1/7) — ESPN (6.3 million viewers)
5. College Football Studio Show (1/2) — ESPN (6.1 million viewers)
6. Cotton Bowl (1/2) — ESPN (5.4 million viewers)
7. Sugar Bowl Post Show (1/2) — ESPN (5.2 million viewers)
8. The O’Reilly Factor (1/4) — Fox News (3.9 million viewers)
8. The O’Reilly Factor (1/3) — Fox News (3.9 million viewers)
10. The O’Reilly Factor (1/5) — Fox News (3.8 million viewers)

ESPN can certainly say that that football brings viewers to the table and the proof is in the numbers.

[Multichannel News]

Ken Fang

About Ken Fang

Ken has been covering the sports media in earnest at his own site, Fang's Bites since May 2007 and at Awful Announcing since March 2013. He provides a unique perspective having been an award-winning radio news reporter in Providence and having worked in local television. Fang celebrates the three Boston Red Sox World Championships in the 21st Century, but continues to be a long-suffering Cleveland Browns fan.