ESPN’s ESPY Awards Ratings Tumble for Second Straight Year

Michelle Obama
Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

TV ratings for Wednesday are in, and the numbers show that ESPN’s ESPY Awards broadcast fell for the second year in a row.

The awards show, which this year featured former First Lady Michelle Obama as an award presenter, fell over last year’s numbers, Variety magazine reported Thursday.

The Wednesday broadcast drew a 1.4 rating with 5.3 million viewers, the Hollywood-based magazine said. But that was down from last year’s 1.7 and 5.6 million viewers.

In addition, both last year and this year earned lower viewership compared to the 2015 broadcast which drew a 2.2 rating with 7.7 million viewers. The 2015 award show featured Caitlyn Jenner’s acceptance of the Arthur Ashe Courage Award.

ESPN likely hoped that the announcement that former First Lady Michelle Obama was tapped to present the Arthur Ashe Courage Award might lead to higher ratings this year. The former First Lady presented the award to Special Olympics Founder Eunice Kennedy Shriver.

The nearly 40-year-old cable sports network has been battling the perception that it leans too far to the left, but the inclusion of Obama on the show didn’t seem to help knock back that perception in the least.

Some reports show that the network has lost millions of viewers over the constant left-wing politics espoused by hosts and sports writers alike.

Indeed, three recent polls showed that millions of former ESPN fans have turned away from the network over its left-wing bias.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at


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