October is arguably the best month on the sports calendar, with the MLB Playoffs, the NFL, college football and the buildup to the NBA, NHL and college hoops. And that was great news for ESPN.com and other ESPN digital media properties, which reached 99.3 million unique visitors during October, the company’s second largest total ever and up 8 percent from last October, per ESPN.
ESPN’s continued success in the digital realm speaks to the company’s versatility and scope. ESPN is a leader in the fantasy sports world, has an effective (if imperfect) streaming service with WatchESPN and even bit off a chunk of the politics audience with FiveThirtyEight. Meanwhile it promptly (though certainly not seamlessly) transitioned into the world of phone apps and in October had the top two sports apps in America, with the no-longer-terrible ESPN app and the ESPN Fantasy app.
At this point, the dominance of ESPN online seems like a given, but the company deserves credit for building its digital empire to match its broadcast one. We’ve seen many successful companies (Sports Illustrated, for one) struggle to convert success in one medium to the internet age, but ESPN has had no trouble bringing its television audience to the web.
There’s obviously plenty to criticize about ESPN, but every once in a while you kind of have to stop and admire the empire Bristol has built.