“The Last Dance” ratings stay strong but take slight dip in Week 3

ESPN’s highly-acclaimed Michael Jordan-themed documentary series The Last Dance maintained strong US television ratings in Week 3, as Episodes 5 and 6 averaged 5.5 million viewers across ESPN and ESPN2.

According to ESPN figures, Episode 5 (9-10 pm ET) averaged 5.8 million viewers and Episode 6 (10-11 pm) averaged 5.2 million viewers, based on initial Nielsen reporting. It means the first six episodes have averaged 5.8 million viewers across its premieres.

Ratings of premieres have remained impressive but taken slight dips each week, with Week 1 averaging 6.1 million viewers and Week 2 averaging 5.9 million viewers.

Notably, however, the 10-part series – which is centered on the final season of the Jordan-led Chicago Bulls in 1997-98 – has gained significantly more viewers in re-airs and on-demand viewing.

Including all viewing, Episodes 1 and 2 now have an average audience of 13 million and 13.1 million, respectively, which represent more than a 100 per cent increase from initial Nielsen reporting. In less than one week, Episodes 3 and 4 have seen their audiences increase by 84 per cent and 94 per cent, respectively, now coming in at 11.3 million and 10.9 million.

For Episodes 5 and 6, Chicago remained the top rated local market, averaging a 11.4 rating. Three markets in North Carolina, where Jordan played college basketball and now owns the National Basketball Association’s Charlotte Hornets, were also in the top five along with San Diego, California.

As a result of content featuring the New York Knicks, Madison Square Garden, and late Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant, the New York and LA markets were both up by double-digit percentages compared to episodes one through four.

The Last Dance was also the No. 1 most social prime-time program on all of television for the week with 3.9 million interactions across Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Episodes 5 and 6 also drove more social video views than the prior four episodes in the linear window, with 8 million total views, per Nielson Social Intelligence.

The “30 for 30” documentary’s launch date was moved up from June to April to help give sports fans some much-needed new content amid the competition shutdown enforced by the global Covid-19 pandemic.

The series will run each Sunday through May 17 domestically, while Netflix holds the international rights. Reruns are available on both ESPN and the ESPN app in the US.