Last Dance Legacy

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

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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.