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Jarryd Hayne’s debut for San Francisco 49ers helps swell ESPN audience to record levels

Screen Shot 2015-09-16 at 11.18.09 AMJarryd Hayne’s NFL debut for the San Francisco 49ers proved a winner for ESPN yesterday with the sports network recording its highest ever audience in Australia.

The game against the Minnesota Vikings, which ESPN broadcast live at 12.15pm, drew an audience of 116,000 to make it the top ranked program on subscription TV yesterday.

ESPN’s previous record was Super Bowl XLVIII in February last year which attracted 107,100 viewers.

The figures showed 4.2 per cent of subscription TV households watched the game, in which Hayne made a howler when he misjudged a catch, while ESPNAusNZ was trending throughout the game on Twitter.

ESPN used the game as the launch pad for its brand campaign which features key sporting moments combined with murals drawn by graffiti artist Russell Fenn, better know as Sofles.

The strong showing will also be welcomed by Seven which last week secured the rights to air 14 of the San Francisco 49ers regular season games.

Seven has rights to three live matches on a Sunday, which broadcast early on Monday morning in Australia, and will broadcast them live on 7Mate. It will also show the Thanksgiving game and the Super Bowl.

Subscription channel ESPN, which has the rights to the majority of the NFL matches, will show the 49ers’ other two games, including yesterday’s opener.

The ESPN brand campaign, its first locally-produced promotion for four years, is designed to tap into growing demand for American sports among its core 18 to 34 male demographic.

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