This is starting to feel like a thing. ESPN's ratings were down in the first half of the year—alarmingly so in the spring—which prompted ESPN's PR machine to swing back hard, labeling the drop a bizarre fluke, an aberration. Well, July numbers are in and ...
On the heels of double-digit percentage drops in Q2, ESPN during the month of July saw an 8% drop in total-day viewership and a 12% drop in primetime compared to the same period in '12. Contributing to the drops was a shift in the Nielsen calendar, whereby ESPN this past month had neither the NBA Draft nor College World Series finals – both of which aired in July '12. The net also had a strong presence last July with the UEFA Euro '12 semifinals and final, as well as strong numbers around pre-Olympic programming.
More caveats, but also a bit more evidence that what we're seeing is a real trend. By the way, ESPY ratings were down this year, too; the awards show had 2.3 million viewers this year compared to last year's 2.41 million.