BRISTOL, CONN.—A nexus of sporting events drove record-breaking traffic for ESPN’s digital distribution channels, the sports franchise said. Coverage of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, NBA Finals, NBA Draft, U.S. Open, Wimbledon, and MLB’s regular season came together in June to give ESPN 80.7 million unique users across computers, smartphones and tablets. The total makes for ESPN’s biggest month and an increase of 56 percent from a year ago, the network said.
Of the total, 58.7 million unique users accessed ESPN content on mobile devices, setting a category record for mobile reach in June, and marking the fourth consecutive month that ESPN has established a new category high on that platform. In addition, fans spent 7.4 billion minutes using ESPN digital properties, a category record for the month of June and up 62 percent from a year ago. According to comScore, ESPN accounted for 35.2 percent of all sports category usage on digital platforms, more than the Nos. 2, 3, 4 and 5 properties combined (Yahoo! Sports-NBC Sports Network had 10.5 percent, MLB 8.5 percent, Bleacher Report-Turner Sports Network 8.3 percent, and Sporting News/Perform Sports 7.2 percent.)
Figures from comScore indicated June also was the 10th consecutive month that more unique users visited ESPN on smartphones and tablets than on desktop and laptop computers (37.2 million uniques with 3.2 billion minutes of usage.) Seventy-three percent of ESPN’s total users accessed content on mobile devices, which generated 4.2 billion minutes of usage, a sports category record. Among males 18 to 49, ESPN was the eighth most-used digital property in the U.S. during the month.
Additional results from ESPN Research & Analytics indicated that14.7 million unique devices streamed WatchESPN and ESPN3 content in June, setting a new monthly record and nearly doubling the previous high (June 2010, 7.8 million unique devices). Viewers spent 2.8 billion million minutes with WatchESPN and ESPN3 programming across all platforms, also establishing a new high (June 2012, 1.1 billion minutes) and up 254 percent from June 2013. Fans watched 472.7 million ESPN digital video clips in June, an all-time high and up 65 percent from a year ago. 80.9 million video clip starts came from mobile phones, also a record, and up 123 percent from a year ago. 68 percent of all clips were viewed on computers, 25 percent on phones and tablets, and 7 percent on connected TVs.
ESPN networks and ABC sports television content generated 75 million tweets in June, accounting for more than two-thirds of all TV-related activity during the month. ESPN itself was the most-social TV network (broadcast or cable) in June, with 4.7 million unique authors sending 37 million tweets about ESPN programming.