Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

April was an incredibly busy month on the sports calendar, and ESPN thrived with record viewership in primetime.

Per a Monday release, the network averaged 2.1 million viewers in primetime across April. That’s the most-watched April on record, which goes all the way back to 1992. Compared to 2023, April viewership was up a staggering 42 percent.

In relevant information for advertisers, ESPN’s P18-49 demo viewership was up 33 percent from last April.

While not reaching the heights of ESPN’s primetime viewership, the network’s total day viewership in April also hit an impressive multi-year high. The total day audience averaged 781,000 viewers per hour, the best mark for an April since 2012 and a 23 percent increase from last year. The P18-49 demo was up 11 percent compared to 2023.

As mentioned, April was a stacked month on the sports calendar. It saw the conclusion of the NBA and NHL regular seasons, along with the NBA Play-In Tournament and the start of both leagues’ playoffs. Both the WNBA and NFL Drafts took place, with the former shattering all viewership records. ESPN also broadcast a full slate of Sunday Night Baseball games in April.

However, the real drivers of that viewership growth were two Elite Eight games and the Final Four of the NCAA Women’s Tournament. The four games that aired in primetime on ESPN in April reached ridiculous peaks, ranging between 6.72 million and 14.2 million viewers.

It seems unlikely that May will be able to hit those heights. But numbers for the month could be impressive overall if the network gets a strong slate of NBA and NHL playoff games, especially with the prospect of a Celtics-Knicks Eastern Conference Finals matchup (which will air on ESPN) on the table.


About Joe Lucia

I hate your favorite team. I also sort of hate most of my favorite teams.