ESPN app hits $1 billion consumer spend milestone

Anne Freer | November 23, 2023

App Business

The ESPN app, acquired by Disney in 1995, has proven to be a lucrative investment over the years, with its valuation recently reaching an impressive $24 billion. According to a recent report by data.ai, the app has officially surpassed $1 billion in lifetime consumer spending.

An app for sports enthusiasts

Since its launch on iOS in May 2009 and on Google Play in June 2010, the ESPN app has become a staple for sports enthusiasts worldwide, amassing nearly 166 million downloads.

But 2023 has proven particularly lucrative for the ESPN app, contributing approximately $303 million in consumer spending. This marks a substantial 26% increase compared to the same period in the previous year when it generated $240 million.

While it offers a range of free sports content, including news, scores, highlights, and expert analysis, it’s the premium subscription option, ESPN+, that has been the driving force behind its latest financial milestone. Priced at $10.99 per month, ESPN+ provides subscribers with access to live sports events, including NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, XFL, college sports, golf and tennis.

ESPN sees consumer spend skyrocket

Source: data.ai

A standout month for the app was March 2023, setting a new record for revenue. Fueled by the March Madness basketball event and the return of Major League Baseball, ESPN+ raked in approximately $35.5 million, experiencing nearly a 70% surge compared to March 2022.

It’s all happening in the US

Notably, ESPN’s revenue is heavily skewed toward 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 on its mobile success, ESPN recently introduced the ESPN Bet app in collaboration with gaming specialist PENN Entertainment. Launched in November in 17 states where sports gaming is legal, ESPN Bet made an impressive entry by immediately securing the top spot in iOS downloads across all apps and games. This triumph solidifies ESPN’s continued dominance in the competitive arena of mobile sports applications.

As the 2023 NFL season kicks off, significant changes are underway in the realm of sports betting apps. While sportsbook app downloads have slightly decreased from the previous year, there’s a notable increase in user engagement. This shift suggests a focus on retaining and satisfying the existing user base rather than solely concentrating on acquiring new users.

Key takeaways

  • ESPN app’s lifetime consumer spending surpasses $1 billion, driven by ESPN+ and premium sports content
  • March 2023 saw record-breaking revenue thanks to March Madness and Major League Baseball’s return
  • ESPN’s revenue is mainly from the US, with 99% of its lifetime revenue originating there, but its global presence is significant
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