ESPN has been looking into the way politics has affected its viewership, and the network’s latest research indicates little impact.
A survey conducted May 3-7 by Langer Research Associates for ESPN found that about 64% of those responding believed ESPN was “getting it right” in terms of mixing sports news and political issues. There were 10% who said they had no opinion and 8% who said ESPN does not do enough politics in its programming.
ESPN says the survey found that the portion of viewers who see political bias in ESPN programming is unchanged since the survey was last conducted in October 2016.
Since the presidential election, there have been numerous press reports tying ESPN's declining subscriber count and lower ratings for its studio shows to a left-wing bias, indicated in part by the number of women and minorities it employs as anchors.
B&C ran a story in May about a study by research company Deep Root Analytics that found that Republican viewers were disproportionately tuning out ESPN.
In a blog post, ESPN’s study found that of those who see a bias, 30% said ESPN expresses a conservative viewpoint. And those who identify themselves as conservative or Republican rate ESPN higher than in October.
ESPN also noted that in 2016, for the third straight year, it was the highest-rated full-time cable network among adults and men in the 18-34, 18-49 and 25-54 age brackets.