Live sports can’t come back soon enough for ESPN. The network saw an 8% decline in ad revenue in the second quarter, parent company Walt Disney Co. said on Monday’s earnings call. Execs expect a rebound, though, as live games continue to trickle back over the next several months. ESPN began airing Korean baseball this week, while UFC 249 is set to run on ESPN+ on May 9.
As of March 28, ESPN+ had 7.9 million subscribers, up from 6.6M at the end of December. The NFL Draft and ‘The Last Dance’ helped ESPN’s April viewership grow 11% year-over-year.
Disney’s Q2 revenue was up 21% to $18 billion, including approximately 40% from its TV networks and streaming services. However, the company’s shuttered theme parks were blamed for a 37% decline in net income to $2.4 billion.