Last Dance Legacy

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  • Following the success of ‘The Last Dance,’ ESPN is leaning heavily on documentaries.

Success of ‘The Last Dance’ may be enough to fuel ESPN in the absence of live sports. The Michael Jordan docuseries is now the network’s most-watched documentary and the positive numbers have led ESPN to move up the release dates of three other ‘30 for 30’ documentaries. The network has also ordered a nine-part series on Tom Brady that will air next year. 

‘The Last Dance’ By The Numbers

  • Averaged 5.6 million U.S. viewers across the 10 episodes.
  • 23.8 million households have watched it outside the U.S.
  • Ranks as 10 of the 11 most-watched telecasts among the key 18-34 demo since mid-March.
  • No. 1 trending topic on Twitter for five straight Sundays. 
  • More social conversation on a per-episode basis than any TV series this year.

Prior to ‘The Last Dance,’ ESPN’s linear TV audience had plummeted 60% year-over-year without live sports. ESPN web traffic was down 50% from February to April.

The series, co-produced by Netflix and ESPN, will begin a five-week re-broadcast on ABC on Saturday. The U.S. rights will belong to Netflix starting mid-July and will head to ESPN+ in July 2021.