ESPN Outdoor Games Are Greater

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ESPN’s Great Outdoor Games V enjoyed its biggest audience ever this year. The total audience increased 37% over 2003, with 35.8 million people tuned in versus last year’s 26 million. ABC’s July 18 broadcast earned a 1.9 rating.

The Games, held July 8-11 in Madison, Wis., included more than 200 competitors in 23 events, including fishing, target sports and sporting dogs.

ESPN attributes the success to several factors: growing interest in outdoor games, greater promotion efforts, and the way the show was aired. Compared with last year, the network says, there were three more hours of coverage, two on ABC, which helped broaden reach.

Fans not only tuned in but showed up as well: Attendance at the event was a record 68,424.