Getty ImagesESPN’s linear channels have seen an 11 per cent increase in primetime viewership between adults aged 18-49 despite the absence of live sports, according to Disney’s chief executive Bob Chapek. Speaking to CNBC, Chapek claimed the surge experienced in April was fuelled by live coverage of the National Football League’s (NFL) and the Women’s National Basketball Association’s (WNBA) remote 2020 drafts. Chapek, who is set to succeed Bob Iger as Disney chief executive, also hailed the success of ESPN’s original programming, including The Last Dance docuseries, which follows the story of Michael Jordan's final season with the Chicago Bulls. “I think it’s important to note that in the month of April, amongst adults aged 18-49 in primetime, we were up on ESPN by 11 per cent,” Chapek said. “I think that says something about the ingenuity of our team over at ESPN and I think that says something about the brand and the wealth of assets that we have. Report: UFC 249 surpasses 700K PPV buys on ESPN+“To be in this situation, with no live sports, and have ratings go up 11 per cent in primetime, I think that says something.
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