ESPN & Netflix reap the rewards early as a Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls docuseries pours in millions.
By James Braham
This article is exclusive to the Online Edition 4 of VARSITY News.
On April 19th, Netflix aired two episodes of the ESPN docuseries titled ‘The Last Dance’, which has a lot of people talking. Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls, in collaboration with ESPN, have provided footage like never before. This 10-part docuseries has eclipsed the ratings of Netflix’s notorious Tiger King.
The Last Dance follows an NBA powerhouse franchise in the Chicago Bulls. Specifically, it provides behind the scenes footage of the Chicago Bulls and their 1997-98 title-winning season, as well as giving a definitive account on the legendary career of NBA all-star, Michael Jordan. The main attraction is evidently Jordan, as lengthy interviews are conducted and narrated throughout the series, with plentiful footage from the archives. However, it is not just the ‘Jordan show’; stand-out stars such as Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman and others feature in the all enticing footage which has never been seen before.
With the journey to the franchises’ sixth title in the 1990’s era, The Last Dance has become the most demanded documentary series worldwide for ESPN and Netflix viewers. The series was supposed to be released in June/July later this year, however with the onset of Covid-19 and nation-wide isolation measures, the docuseries was brought forward from its initial plans. This has lured-in its captivating narrative to be on the frontline for happy viewers and leaves them wanting more and more each week due to its weekly schedule of two episodes at a time.
According to Bloomberg, a study by Parrot Analytics has provided the conclusion that the series has indeed overtaken Tiger King as the most in-demand documentary globally. The research firm prizes itself upon tracking audience interest in relation to social-media use and piracy. Steve Langdon is a director of partnerships at Parrot and had the following to say, “We are tracking the rise in demand for sports documentaries during the coronavirus pandemic”. This hints at an overwhelming ‘gap’ in the market for sports viewing, as live sport continues to be restricted by the global pandemic.
According to ESPNPressRoom.com, the ratings of each episode are “sky-high”; as episode three racked in an average of 6.1 million US viewers watching the episode on ESPN. Additionally, the two-hour telecast of episodes three and four (April 26th) made The Last Dance the number one program on social media with reports suggesting there were approximately 4 million interactions between Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (Read: Bleacher Report).
With the show credited as the most-watched documentary series in ESPN history, The Last Dance will continue to reap rewards for weeks to come.