ESPN surges to second in Australian online sports market with one million new users

Sports broadcaster ESPN has gained a million website users in the last year and grown to be the second biggest sports site in the country, with the company crediting its focus on local sports for the growth.

Lance Peatey

Lance Peatey, Director – Digital Products & Partnerships at ESPN Australia/NZ.

The October Nielsen Digital Ratings data ranks the network as the second largest property in the sports category behind AFL Media and ahead of the Fox Sports sites, showing the largest growth among all digital sports publishers in Australia.

Lance Peatey, director of digital products and partnerships at ESPN told Mumbrella: “It’s just an extraordinary result for a category that only grew sort of just under 3% so for us to punch over 50% growth year on year is just extraordinary, we’re absolutely delighted with it.

“It’s the industry standard metric, it’s the one you really want to show and it did show so it’s a great result”.

The platform saw a 57% year on year increase supported by a surge in user engagement metrics, including a 62% climb in page views and 123% growth in total minutes.

Peatey added: “We kind of did expect to show some pretty strong figures, we knew from all our internal numbers that we were achieving pretty extraordinary growth, certainly since the launch of our local edition since March 1 so we knew we were growing at a really good rate”.

The success of the flagship digital network in conjunction with the enhanced local sports content is what Peatey believes to have driven the surge in numbers.

“One of the most encouraging things certainly from’s point of view is how much traction we’ve gained across our local sports coverage. We saw some really great results across the AFL trade week and that carried right through up until the recent AFL drafts,” added Peatey.

“We’re really encouraged by that because we have a very strong AFL audience on ESPN FootyTips, they use us particularly for that footy tipping utility and now they’ve engaged a lot further on and we’re getting great content and they’re consuming it”.

Within the first nine months the network has seen a 250% year on year increase in audience as well as a 367% year on year boost in page views, according to October’s Nielsen Digital Rankings.

The return of its trademark international sports has also helped the network growth with the NFL and NBA seasons returning as the major footy codes here finished their seasons.

“The NBA came at the back end of October which certainly allowed us to come home with a wet sale because our NBA’s really popular and then The World Series in Baseball, that was a bit of a fairy tale there,” he added.

Peatey told Mumbrella it will be channelling more content through female-focussed site ESPNW around the Australian Open and upcoming women’s AFL.

Looking towards the future Peatey said: “We’re a video led site so we’ve got unmatched depth across the board in a lot of our sports coverage and I think that’s why the consumers are coming to us and the local sports fans are absolutely eating up our content because there’s so much depth to it”.



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