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SportsCenter viewer engagement analysis

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Four students pose outdoors

Team members
Lexie Hull, Evelyn Micco, Ashten Prechtel, Blake Wilson

Faculty mentor
Prof. James Sweeney

The organization
ESPN SportsCenter is a television program for daily sports news on the ESPN network that covers various sports and events throughout the day.

Sports Center logo

Project description

Our goal was to synthesize the current landscape of women’s sports coverage and present a producer at ESPN SportsCenter a review of our findings. More specifically, we aimed to conduct research regarding the current outlooks towards women’s sports and emphasize the importance of increasing the availability of women’s sports. We looked at the current initiatives in promoting women’s sports in order to project how coverage can improve moving into the future. 

Additionally, we wanted to provide SportsCenter with methodologies to assist in analyzing their own data to see if a statistical approach aligns with the conclusions from current research on this topic. In order to demonstrate how this would work, we watched a sample of shows and compiled our own anecdotal data set. We used this data to conduct our own analysis on the proportion of women’s sports covered on the show and we noted how this could be scaled up and used on the full data set that ESPN has access to.

Ultimately, the goal of this project was to synthesize our conclusions in order to present our own recommendations to ESPN SportsCenter moving forward.


It is in SportsCenter’s best interest, both socially and economically, to provide a more equal amount of coverage for women’s sports. The sports media landscape is experiencing a phase of change, and if SportsCenter does not embrace this change, viewership, credibility, and revenue will decrease. Women account for 40 percent of all sports participation in the United States. Therefore, we recommend that SportsCenter's coverage should align more closely with this number, and the show should cover and analyze women’s sports equally.

We provided 3 recommendations:   

  • Dedicate a proportion of the show to ESPNW.
  • Create a SportsCenter Top 10 women's segment.
  • Create more talking points for ​analysts regarding women's sports.

Techniques used

We performed an individual show analysis throughout the quarter. This involved watching different ESPN SportsCenter episodes and recording the following metrics: 

  • Date the show aired
  • Total time elapsed
  • Percent time of men's coverage
  • Percent time of women's coverage

We then presented our sample data graphically to highlight the discrepancy in coverage time. 

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2022 senior projects