ESPN Invokes The Force of Disney To Market Michael Jordan Doc

The plan: Disney treated the release of The Last Dance like a feature film and began building hype 18 months before the original release (June 2020).

The result #1: The Last Dance was ESPN’s highest-rated original ever and their most-watched program since the College Football Playoff.

Most-watched 30 for 30 Premieres according to Nielsen/ESPN:
The Last Dance (Part 1) – 6.3M
The Last Dance (Part 2) – 5.8M
You Don’t Know Bo – 3.6M
O.J.: Made in America (Part 1) – 3.4M
The Fab 5 – 2.8M

Paging Granny Screens: We may need you to break quarantine and FedEx Mr. Screens his all-black Chicago Bulls Starter jacket from the 90s!

The result #2: This level of viewership is a huge (and much needed) win for ESPN and its advertisers.

Top advertisers by the number of spots according to
State Farm – 10
Reese’s – 8
Facebook/Portal – 8
NBA – 4

Ad of the night: State Farm and Kenny Mayne Brilliantly Faked Us All Out During The Last Dance

Big question: Who is the chyron writer for ESPN?

Key background details for The Last Dance:
1) 500 hours of behind the scenes video content from the 1997-98 season
2) Michael Jordan had veto rights before the final release
3) A deep dive on getting Jordan’s sign off and the 30 for 30 series as a whole

Quote from Adam Silver – Commissioner @ NBA:
“I’ll take David’s quote and apply it to Andy.. Andy had an unlimited budget, then he exceeded it.”

The full release schedule:

More #1: Michael Jordan Will Now Interrupt Your Quarantine

More #2: Behind-the-Scenes: An Homage to Michael Jordan

More #3: ESPN Plus Launching 1998 Chicago Bulls Companion Series to ‘The Last Dance’


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