Michael “Air” Jordan hasn’t played a professional basketball game in years, yet, he is still drawing record crowds to see him.
The highly anticipated Chicago Bulls documentary, The Last Dance, was the most viewed program in ESPN history as Sunday’s two premiere episodes averaged 6.1 million viewers, according to ESPN.
Sports fans have been clamoring for some type of sports programming since the coronavirus pandemic canceled virtually every sporting event in the world. ESPN had announced last month that the premiere of the 10-part documentary series about the NBA legend and the Chicago Bulls would air on Sunday nights from April 19 through May 17. The series, which highlights the Chicago Bulls’ quest to win a sixth NBA title in eight years, was originally scheduled to debut in June.
According to the numbers, The Last Dance averaged 6.1 million viewers for episodes 1 and 2 across ESPN & ESPN2 from 9-11 p.m. ET. Episode 1 (9-10 p.m.) averaged 6.3 million viewers and episode 2 (10-11 p.m.) averaged a tad less with 5.8 million viewers. In addition to viewership, “The Last Dance” dominated the conversation on social media.
Just on ESPN alone, the two hours averaged 5.3 million viewers, with episode 1 delivering 5.7 million viewers and episode 2 delivering 5 million.
The series was directed by noted sports documentarian Jason Hehir (The Fab Five, The ’85 Bears, Andre the Giant). It features never-before-seen footage from the 1997-98 season.
“Michael Jordan and the ‘90s Bulls weren’t just sports superstars, they were a global phenomenon,” said Hehir. “Making The Last Dance was an incredible opportunity to explore the extraordinary impact of one man and one team. For nearly three years, we searched far and wide to present the definitive story of an era-defining dynasty and to present these sports heroes as humans. I hope viewers enjoy watching our series as much as we enjoyed the opportunity to make it.”