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:
1) The Last Dance (Part 1) – 6.3M
2) The Last Dance (Part 2) – 5.8M
3) You Don’t Know Bo – 3.6M
4) O.J.: Made in America (Part 1) – 3.4M
5) 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 iSpot.tv:
1) State Farm – 10
2) Reese’s – 8
3) Facebook/Portal – 8
4) NBA – 4
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: