fb-pixel

‘The Last Dance’ is most-watched documentary content in ESPN history

The unprecedented look at Michael Jordan and the last season of the Bulls’ dynasty averaged 6.1 million viewers Sunday night.

Michael Jordan (with the Finals MVP trophy) and coach Phil Jackson (with the Larry O'Brien Trophy) won six titles in all with the Bulls.
Michael Jordan (with the Finals MVP trophy) and coach Phil Jackson (with the Larry O'Brien Trophy) won six titles in all with the Bulls.JEFF HAYNES/AFP via Getty Images

Twenty-two years after his final game with the Chicago Bulls and 17 after his last NBA game, Michael Jordan still draws an enormous following.

ESPN’s much-anticipated documentary series “The Last Dance,” featuring a behind-the-scenes look at Jordan and the 1997-98 Bulls, premiered Sunday night to a massive audience.

The first two episodes of the 10-part series, which aired on ESPN and ESPN2, averaged 6.1 million viewers across the two networks from 9-11 p.m., making it the most-watched documentary content in ESPN’s history.

Episode 1 averaged 6.3 million viewers, and the second episode averaged 5.8 million. Per ESPN, of the 6.1 million viewers the two episodes averaged, 3.5 million viewers were in the age 18-49 demographic.

Advertisement



On ESPN alone, the two hours averaged 5.3 million viewers, with Episode 1 delivering 5.7 million viewers and Episode 2 delivering 5 million. The ESPN version did not edit out colorful language, but the ESPN2 version did.

The premiere episodes rank as the two most-viewed original content broadcasts on ESPN Networks since 2004, surpassing the 2012 “30 for 30” film “You Don’t Know Bo” (3.6 million) on Bo Jackson. It is also the most-viewed telecast on ESPN since the 2019 national championship game in college football.


Chad Finn can be reached at chad.finn@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeChadFinn.