Sports Broadcast : Michael Jordan’s documentary ’The Last Dance’ breaks all records

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Michael Jordan, the greatest basketball player of all time broke all records on the basketball court and now he is doing the same thing on the tube.

US broadcast giant ESPN averaged 6.1 million viewers for the premiere of its docuseries following Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls’ quest for a sixth National Basketball Association (NBA) title during the 1997/98 season.

The first two episodes of The Last Dance, which form part of a ten-part series, were aired back-to-back to US viewers on ESPN and ESPN2 on 19th April. The first episode, shown in primetime, averaged 6.3 million viewers, while the second averaged 5.8 million.

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The series is available on Netflix outside of the US and had its release date brought forward by ESPN to fill its programming slate amid the coronavirus-enforced shutdown of live sporting events worldwide.

The Last Dance episodes now rank as the two most-viewed original content broadcasts on ESPN Networks since 2004, and surpasses the 2012 film You Don’t Know Bo, which follows the story of former professional baseball and football player Bo Jackson, and accrued 3.6 million viewers.

The Last Dance also ranks as the most-watched telecast among adults aged between 18 to 34 and 18 to 49 since sports halted across broadcast and cable networks. On ESPN alone, the two hours averaged 5.3 million viewers, with episode one delivering 5.7 million viewers and the second delivering five million.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Chicago topped ESPN’s regional viewership with a 12.1 rating. The top-five metered markets also including North Carolina’s Raleigh-Durham (6.5 rating), Charlotte (4.7 rating), and Greensboro (4.7 rating), as well as Norfolk, Virginia (4.9 rating).

The Last Dance, which continues on ESPN channels every Sunday until 17th May, also dominated conversation online in the US, becoming the number-one trending topic on Twitter and was also the top searched subject on Google Search.

On Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, Last Dance posts from ESPN accounted for a combined nine million engagements. Two pre and two post-digital live shows also attracted a combined 3.5 million viewers and 2.6 million watched minutes.