Consumer spending on the ESPN app surpasses the $1 billion milestone
The ESPN app, an essential for sports enthusiasts since its debut on iOS in May 2009 and on Google Play in June 2010, has not only garnered nearly 166 million downloads worldwide but has also demonstrated substantial financial growth in 2023. This year has proven exceptionally profitable, contributing around $303 million in consumer spending, marking an impressive 26% increase from the previous year's $240 million.
While offering a diverse range of free sports content, encompassing news, scores, highlights, and expert analysis, the true financial catalyst has been its premium subscription service, ESPN+. Priced at $10.99 per month, ESPN+ provides subscribers exclusive access to live sports events, including NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, XFL, college sports, golf, and tennis. March 2023 emerged as a standout month, setting a new revenue record of approximately $35.5 million, driven by the March Madness basketball event and the return of Major League Baseball, resulting in nearly a 70% surge compared to March 2022.
ESPN's revenue landscape is heavily skewed towards its American user base, with 99% of its lifetime revenue originating in the United States. In terms of downloads, the U.S. leads with 131 million out of 166 million, followed by Mexico, Brazil, India, and Argentina.
Expanding its mobile success, ESPN ventured into the realm of sports betting apps by introducing the ESPN Bet app in collaboration with gaming specialist PENN Entertainment. Launched in November in 17 states where sports gaming is legal, ESPN Bet swiftly claimed the top spot in iOS downloads across all apps and games, reaffirming ESPN's dominant position in the competitive arena of mobile sports applications.
As the 2023 NFL season unfolds, the sports app landscape witnesses significant changes, with a shift in focus from acquiring new users to retaining and satisfying the existing user base. Although sportsbook app downloads have experienced a slight decrease from the previous year, there is a notable increase in user engagement, signaling a strategic emphasis on user satisfaction within the sports app market. Key takeaways include the ESPN app's lifetime consumer spending surpassing $1 billion, driven by the success of ESPN+ and premium sports content, and the noteworthy revenue spike in March 2023 attributed to high-profile sporting events. ESPN's stronghold in the U.S. market remains evident, but its global presence is also significant.
Source: adapted from an article by Anne Freer, Writer for Business of Apps.