COVID-19 Impact: ESPN ratings in US crash in absence of live content

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Leading sports broadcaster in the USA, ESPN has recorded a major fall in audience ratings over the previous week as the network is left with no significant LIVE content. The COVID-19 pandemic, which has infected nearly eight lakh people in more than 200 countries and taken over 37,500 lives, has caused suspension or postponement of all major sports events.

The compulsion of filling slots with archived content has seen the major US broadcast networks sports ratings collapse to half, SportsPro has reported.

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The absence of the National Basketball Association (NBA) action and the cancellation of the March Madness college basketball tournament have been the significant factors behind the steep falls in the ESPN ratings.

The channel, states report, has not revealed specific ratings of the original programming televised during the Covid-19-enforced shutdown.

Meanwhile, another US broadcaster NBC has been more open about the hit taken by its Golf Channel in recent weeks.

The absence of any live golf to fill the schedules has seen the network’s unique viewership fall by 39% to 3.19 million in one week. The had recorded 5.25 million unique viewers during the corresponding period last year.

NBC and the Golf Channel were due to air the Players Championship in Florida between 12th and 15th March, but that tournament was cut short and a host of other PGA Tour events have since been cancelled.

Last year, the Golf Channel’s Friday session coverage of the Players Championship drew close to one million viewers.

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