2015 NCAA Outdoor T&F Championships draws record viewership on ESPN

Besides attracting more than 42,000 spectators to Hayward Field over four days of competition, ESPN reported record television viewership for the 2015 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships. (TrackTown Photo)

EUGENE, Ore. – Fast times, astonishing throws and lofty heights weren’t the only records being broken at the 2015 NCAA Men’s and Women’s Outdoor Track & Field Championships at historic Hayward Field in TrackTown USA last week.

According to ESPN, the four-day championships (June 10-13) – which featured the first year of a new competition format – drew record numbers of viewers to the ESPN network. With 12 hours of live television broadcast across the ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU channels, the meet averaged 367,000 viewers, making it the most-watched NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in history.

“This is outstanding news for our sport,” TrackTown USA President Vin Lananna said. “The leadership at the NCAA took a bold move and ESPN trusted the vision.  We look forward to building upon this momentum for the next 6 years.”

The men’s championship finals on Friday, June 12 (ESPN) and the women’s championship finals on Saturday, June 13 (ESPN2) averaged 579,000 and 534,000 viewers, respectfully. Those are the two most-watched sessions of the NCAA Championships ever on ESPN networks.

The top five markets in the U.S. were Oklahoma City, Portland, New Orleans, Kansas City and Atlanta.

Besides the expanded television coverage, ESPN3 offered more than 25 hours of online coverage from Hayward Field. Combined with WatchESPN, those users consumed more than 4,600,000 minutes of competition, a 138 percent increase over the 2014 Division I Men’s and Women’s Outdoor Track and Field Championship on the same platforms.