A very interesting release came out of Bristol this afternoon breaking down each Channel’s total number of viewers and individual highlights for the past year. I’ve talked about how many games ESPN shows over the course of 365 days, but I didn’t really understand the Network’s true dominance on the Sports Landscape until this release. Just look at some of these numbers….

ESPN Classic – 62.8 Million Households

* Post highs for audience in January, February, March and April, as well as its most-watched first quarter.
* The network posted a record rating for the September 15 Louisville – Kentucky live college football game. The game earned a 17.1 rating in Louisville, the market’s third-highest-rated ad-supported cable telecast of the year.

ESPNEWS – 63 Million Households

* Set a new mark for 24-hour audience for the year, 63,000, up 27% over last year.
* Five times the network set a record as its best month ever (most recent: December).
* Each quarter set a record for that quarter, with second, then third, topping all quarters ever.

ESPN2 – 96.3 Million Households

* ESPN2 enjoyed its most-watched year, averaging 272,000 households on a 24-hour basis.
* The network set a record for the month’s audience seven times, with September ranking as the best month ever, helping make third quarter its most-viewed quarter in history, followed by the network’s best fourth quarter in history.
* Season-long coverage of NASCAR’s Busch Series debuted as ESPN2’s highest-rated series ever, with three of its six biggest motorsports audiences ever, and the three all ranked in the network’s top nine for the year overall.
* ESPN2’s morning lineup – Mike & Mike at 6 a.m. followed by FirstTake at 10 a.m. – debuted in HD in May and for the year increased the audience 32%.
* Set records for average audience for Major League Baseball, college football, women’s college basketball and MLS.

ESPN – 96.7 Million Households

* Posted highs for the most-watched August, September, December (the most-viewed month ever), third quarter and fourth quarter (the most-viewed quarter ever).
* Monday Night Football – generated 16 of cable’s top 20 household audiences in 2007, topped by the New England – Baltimore game, cable’s biggest audience ever (12.5 million homes, 17.5 million viewers). The 17 NFL games included those ranked first, second, third, fourth, sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth, 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 16th, 17th, 18th and 19th in household delivery.
* SportsCenter – grew its audience to an average of 83.5 million viewers per month, peaking at 106 million in December.
* NASCAR – ESPN posts five of its biggest six household audiences for motorsports, including the top three. In just three months (August 27 – November 18), 127 million people (45% of Americans) watched NASCAR on ABC, ESPN or ESPN2.
* New highs for average audience for college football, College GameDay, Sunday NFL Countdown and the weekday pairing Around the Horn/Pardon the Interruption.
* Overall, the network posted its second-best year ever, behind only 2006 which was boosted by the tremendous debut of Monday Night Football, plus the World Baseball Challenge and FIFA World Cup, events that did not take place in 2007.

Wow….that’s a lot of people isn’t it? For all of the stuff I’ve picked on involving ESPN over the past year or so there is one thing that gets lost in all of the nonsense. They still provide us with the most Sports and do an amazing job of getting the games to us on a daily basis.

Now that that’s out of the way…..I’ll get back to destroying them tomorrow for another 364 days.

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