Ministry of Sport

The Last Dance Totals 23.8 Million Global Viewers On Netflix

Netflix has revealed The Last Dance series was watched by 23.8 million users outside of the US in its first four weeks on the global over-the-top (OTT) subscription service.

The sports documentary series chronicling the Chicago Bulls’ 1997/98 NBA championship run, marking their sixth title in eight seasons, has been a major success for ESPN as well, who had US linear broadcasts average 5.6 million viewers across all ten episodes.

The ESPN broadcast numbers see The Last Dance become the Disney-owned network’s most-viewed documentary in history, with the series only set to go live on Netflix’s US platform on July 19.

Netflix is notorious in the OTT market for being secretive with its viewing figures but reported the 23.8 million audience metric is based on how many accounts watched The Last Dance for at least two minutes.

On Netflix’s Q1 earnings call last month, chief content officer, Ted Sarandos, said The Last Dance has “been a win-win for us and ESPN and a great win for basketball fans, who’ve been very hungry for new programming”.

Despite the success of the series on Netflix and ESPN, the partnership between the two was finalised before Disney launched subscription OTT services Disney+ and ESPN+, and the collaboration is unlikely to be repeated in the future.

ESPN films and original content vice president and executive producer, Libby Geist, said the partnership between ESPN and Netflix was unique and has been great for the success of the series, but no longer makes sense with Disney+ and ESPN+ now released.

“I’m not sure that we’re looking to do that again soon, only because we both have our own businesses that we’re supporting,” Geist said, speaking at the Leaders in Sport online forum, LeadersWeek.direct.

“It would have to be another pretty special project for us to get different special permissions to do it again.

“But from a workflow standpoint and maximising the power of all of these brands, I think it’s been really great for The Last Dance and we’re thrilled with the results,” she said.

Joshua Hodson

Joshua Hodson