Project Blueprint and ESPN’s impressive digital and social growth

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By Adam Flomenbaum 


In January, ESPN networks and ABC sports programming drove 20.6 million tweets, good for 20% of all TV-related Twitter activity during the month. Sports programming will continue to be the main driver of social TV growth, and Disney is in a good position to reap the rewards of social TV advertising revenue should cross-platform measurement become more accurate and uniform. Perhaps this is why ESPN jumped at the opportunity to be the first brand to participate in Project Blueprint.

Project Blueprint, the brainchild of comScore and the Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement (CIMM), was the industry’s first cross-media measurement initiative to measure five screens: TV, radio, computer, smartphone and tablet. The pilot was launched in late 2012 and ESPN announced some initial findings in June 2013.Among them:

– In the average week, ESPN’s digital properties provide a reach lift of 18% for adults, and 23% for men, over the reach of the TV networks alone.

– Over a week, 33% of ESPN’s users and 38% of male users used ESPN Digital Media either in combination with TV or exclusively.

– Men who are multiplatform consumers of ESPN content spend twice as much time with the brand as single-platform consumers.

– The more digital platforms a sports fan uses, the more time they spend with ESPN digital content – and they also spend more time watching ESPN on TV.


“These initial results have been impressive and insightful, indicating strong, verifiable evidence that Blueprint can be the measurement solution we hoped it could be,” saidArtie Bulgrin, ESPN’s senior vice president of Research and Analytics. “It will fill significant knowledge gaps about cross-platform usage with a level of precision that we have lacked until now.”

Since Project Blueprint’s inception in 2012, and even since the initial findings were released in June 2013, ESPN has enjoyed incredible digital and social growth. January 2014 marked ESPN’s fifth consecutive month of 300 million-plus digital video clip views.  Fans watched 354.3 million digital video clips on ESPN platforms in January, up 35% from a year ago.

Other key social media metrics from January:

– ESPN counted 28.4 million unique followers across all Twitter accounts in January.

– ESPN’s Twitter accounts were retweeted or favorited 9.2 million times during in January, up 10% from December.

– 52 million people were reached by ESPN page content on Facebook (+82% vs. last month); 36 million by SportsCenter page content (+36%).

– 6.9 million people engaged with the ESPN Facebook page (liked a post, shared a story, left a comment), and 6.3 million also engaged with the SportsCenter page.

– ESPN videos were viewed 44.7 million times on YouTube, up 47% from a year ago.


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