Two Charts That Show Why ESPN Should Be Very Scared

John Ourand of Sports Business Daily takes a look at the viewership numbers which show that ESPN is still dominating the competition. But a closer look shows that ESPN should actually be very nervous.

In the first chart, the data shows that for the three-month period of August through October, the number of people watching ESPN during prime time was up 3.7% from last year and up 4.2% from the same period in 2011. ESPN also still holds a huge lead over the NFL Network and Fox Sports 1, its two biggest competitors (cont. below)…

On the surface that looks great, but those numbers are actually not good for ESPN. Total viewership for the top 10 sports networks was actually up 7.8% over the last year and 16.8% since 2011.

If we look at ESPN’s viewership as a percentage of the total viewers, we can see the network’s numbers are actually down two straight years (cont. below)…

While ESPN’s percentage of viewers has declined from 59.3% to 52.9% in just two years, most other networks remained steady between 2012 and 2013.

The big winner appears to have been Fox Sports 1 whose share of prime-time viewers increased from 3.4% to 5.1%. Fox Sports 1 still has a long ways to go, but they are moving in the right direction and ESPN is not.

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