No signs of audience growth.
June 11, 2018 by Charlie Eisenhood in News with 0 comments
For the second consecutive year, the College Championships finals were broadcast live on ESPNU on Memorial Day. After capturing the highest ratings since 2013 last year, the numbers regressed back to the unimpressive levels of the previous three years. Ultimate’s cable viewership has not made any ratings gains over the six years since USA Ultimate signed their ESPN3 contract.
Here’s a historical look at ultimate’s ratings (in thousands)1:
|Show||2013||2014||2015||2016||2017 (Live)||2018 (Live)|
It is worth noting that ultimate’s appearances on cable television (particularly the US Open final on ESPN2) do push the sport out to new viewers who would not be likely to tune in to an online-only broadcast. Some tiny percentage of households simply has their televisions tuned into ESPNU or ESPN2.
Still, there is no evidence from the annual ESPNU ratings that new fans are being drawn in to watching ultimate by having occasional games available on cable television.
Note that previously the finals aired on the Wednesday after Memorial Day in primetime; the Finals in 2017 and 2018 were streamed live during the afternoon on Memorial Day ↩