ESPN’s Michael Bayle spends as much time looking at Nielsen ratings as some of his customers spend looking at sports scores. Bayle is the general manager of ESPN Mobile, and today he addressed CEOs of many of the nation’s wireless service providers at the Competitive Carriers’ Association’s Annual Convention. As he rattled off Nielsen ratings and compared the size of ESPN Mobile’s audience to that of a cable TV show, he made it clear that a successful mobile app can create a valuable media franchise.
Bayle offered insights into how smartphone users spend their time online, noting that the average ESPN app user spends much more time using social media than using the sports app. He also noted that usage of ESPN Mobile was high on Sundays, even though Sunday games are on major broadcast networks, not his network. Bayle said users are turning to ESPN Mobile for supplementary content while watching the game on TV. “They’re using ESPN as a second screen, while watching live on NBC.” Bayle noted that on the NFL’s opening Sunday, 904,000 people were using ESPN Mobile or the ESPN website, with just over half of those using the mobile app.
Bayle said Nielsen records about 17 million daily visits for his app, and that the average user spends about 10 minutes a day with ESPN’s content. He said he’s eager to work with carriers to increase distribution and get its content into the hands of more sports fans.