ESPN2 will surpass the 80 million-home plateau in September, reaching the
distribution threshold quicker than any other cable network.
According to network officials citing Nielsen Media Research universe
estimates, ESPN2 will be in some 80.3 million homes Sept. 1 -- 95 months after
its Oct. 1, 1993, debut, when it bowed with some 10 million subscribers.
The distribution milestone comes as ESPN2 recorded its highest-ever primetime
ratings in August, when it averaged a 0.7, a 13 percent increase over August
2000. On a 24-hour basis, ESPN2 had its biggest monthly audience ever,
attracting an average of 228,611 households. The 0.29 total-day average rating
for August was second to the network's 0.30 in April 1997.
'The pace of ESPN2's distribution -- making it virtually even with ESPN --
and its record-setting viewership speak to its strong programming and the
viewers' demand for quality sports offerings,' ESPN president George Bodenheimer
said in a prepared statement.
'With a lineup that boasts Major League Baseball, NHL [the National Hockey
League], WNBA [the Women's National Basketball Association], college football
and basketball, X Games, the Little League World Series, sport-specific studio
shows and more, ESPN2 has matured in less than seven years to where it serves as
a valuable destination for sports fans,' he added.
According to Nielsen estimates, five other basic-cable networks will surpass
80 million homes in September: MTV: Music Television, The Learning Channel,
American Movie Classics, CNBC and CNN Headline News.