via press release:
Top Third Quarter for ESPN Networks – Four Nets Combine for Biggest Audience Ever
September the Best Month Ever for ESPN & ESPN2: Football & US Open Lead the Way
September was the most-viewed month in the history of both ESPN and ESPN2, helping lift the combined audience for those nets plus ESPNEWS and ESPN Classic to new highs on a total day basis for the month and the third quarter. Those networks’ combined 24-hour average audience was a new third quarter record of 1,195,000 homes, up 6 percent from 1,124,000 in 2008 and breaking the record set two years ago (1,161,000 HHs). The networks also set a mark for September with 1,654,000 homes, up 12 percent from the previous high, 1,481,000 in 2008.
ESPN averaged 814,000 homes in the third quarter, up 5 percent from the record set in 2008 (777,000 HHs). The network was boosted by larger audiences for SportsCenter; college football games and College GameDay; NFL studio programming; Monday Night Football (the four games to date are cable’s four biggest audiences of 2009) and preseason games; and Little League World Series.
In September, ESPN averaged an all-time high for any month (1,164,000 HHs), a fitting way to celebrate the company’s 30th anniversary. The audience was 7 percent larger than last year, a then-record 1,092,000 households. ESPN also posted a new high for August, averaging 715,000 homes for the month, up 5 percent from the record set a year earlier (684,000 HHs).
ESPN2 averaged 290,000 homes in the third quarter, up 13 percent from last year (257,000). Its performance reflects the addition of tennis’ US Open, plus rising ratings for Wimbledon, college football, WNBA playoffs and Little League World Series.
In September, ESPN2 averaged 33 percent more homes than a year ago (396,000 HHs, up from 298,000), its best ever, breaking the record for the month set in 2007 (343,000 HHs) and the record for any month set in June 2006 (358,000 HHs).
ESPNEWS averaged 65,000 homes in September, up 12 percent from 2008 (58,000). For the quarter, it averaged 60,000 households, up 5 percent from last year (57,000 HHs).