ESPN’s audience saw a decrease in conservative leaning viewers between 2015 and 2016, according to a new analysis.
Deep Root Analytics conducted the study, which found that ESPN viewership in 34 of 43 television markets saw a decrease in Republican viewers between the years that kick-started the presidential campaigns and election.
Multiple channels in the ESPN family saw their viewership move to the left of the political spectrum. While ESPN and ESPN 2 saw just a 5 percent and 10 percent decrease in Republican viewers respectively, ESPN News viewership became 36 percent less Republican.
The decrease in conservative viewers was not specific to rural markets. New York City’s television market, which saw only 36 percent of voters support President Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton, underwent a 7 percent decrease in conservative viewership. Similarly, Atlanta, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Tallahassee, and Washington D.C. all saw a decrease in conservative viewers.
Only two major markets, Boston and Charlotte, saw an increase in Republican viewers between the two years.
As the analysis notes, it would be incorrect to assume that ESPN’s budget issues can be summed up as a decrease in conservative voters; however, the loss appears to be an overwhelming trend. ESPN “Outkick the Coverage” blogger Clay Travis argued that the network’s noted leftward commentary was “more a symptom of the collapse than it is a cause of the collapse.”