Football put podcasts in the end zone for ESPN during October as the sports network credits its football-focused content for pushing its podcast audience to a new record. ESPN says its total unique audience hit 8.1 million last month, an increase of 27% compared to a year ago. It was the tenth consecutive month of year-over-year growth for ESPN Podcasts.
The company says the Fantasy Focus Football show was the “leading driver” for its overall gains. The podcast recorded a 25% increase in reach as it added 319,000 unique listeners, giving the fantasy football show an overall reach of 1.6 million. That was its second-largest number of unique listeners ever.
ESPN also said that sports fans are craving the return of the NBA, at least if its podcast tally is any indication. The network says NBA-focused shows performed particularly well during October, with The Lowe Post averaging a unique audience of 666,000. That was up 31% compared to a year earlier.
Overall, ESPN had 46.1 million podcast downloads last month, which was also a new record. The total was 6% higher than in Oct. 2018, which held the previous record.
“ESPN’s podcast business has certainly been building great momentum which we expect to continue with the recent launch of ESPN Daily,” said Tom Ricks, ESPN VP, Digital Strategy And Marketing within ESPN Audio. “We remain very bullish on the podcast space and that ESPN is best suited to capitalize on the format in the sports genre.”
ESPN’s podcast portfolio currently includes about three dozen show which are a mix of original offerings, as well as on-demand versions of its radio and television shows.