ESPN The Magazine Tops MPA Brand-Audience Charts

Easily outdistancing Forbes and People for both December and the full 2016 year

Perusing the Association of Magazine Media (MPA) “Brand Audience” figures for December 2016, it’s clear that print is not where ESPN The Magazine derives the bulk of its audience. The publication ranks towards the bottom of the month’s Top Ten audiences of metered readers for that platform, well behind respective leaders People, AARP The Magazine and Better Homes and Gardens.

But on the mobile and web side, it’s a wholly different story. ESPN The Magazine in both cases has a large lead on second-ranked Forbes, which totaled account for the lion’s share of its brand-leading aggregate reach for the month: 107,903,000 unique readers and visitors.

The Entertainment Issue of ESPN The Magazine arrives Friday, timed to coincide with NBA All-Star Weekend in New Orleans. The two separate covers are good examples of the pop-culture cleverness that informs the publication. On one cover, it’s SNL’s Leslie Jones and Knicks big man Kristaps Porzingis. On the other, one of last night’s big Grammy winners, Chance the Rapper, alongside Chicago Bull Jimmy Butler.

Another good example of the kind of cross-pollination that keeps web and mobile readers coming back (ESPN The Magazine is also top-ranked by MPA for the full 2016 year) is the Entertainment Issue feature “Warriors Instant Script.” The magazine tapped the Hollywood trio of Adam McKay (Toni Erdmann remake), David Kohan (Will and Grace) and Cheo Hodari Coker (Luke Cage) for their thoughts on how the Golden State saga might plug in to a boffo screenplay.

Addendum (Feb. 14):
We noticed that oddly, ESPN was not listed in MPA’s Brand 360 Top Ten Video sites for December. Checking with the organization, a rep explains.

“ESPN had a technical issue with their comScore video measurement due to mis-tagging, so they were not in the December 2016 Top Ten list for Video audience. We expect them to report that platform again for January.”

“What is important is that ESPN was #1 on each of the Top Ten Video audience size lists for January through September 2016. As of October, when the measurement problem began, they were not included again for 2016. When their tagging glitch is fixed, we fully anticipate seeing them at the top of the Top Ten list again.”