‘The Last Dance’ TV Ratings: ESPN’s Bulls Documentary Pulls in 6.1 Million Viewers


Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Phil Jackson and Michael Jordan

The first two episodes of “The Last Dance,” shown Sunday night on ESPN and ESPN2, is now ESPN’s most watched documentary.

ESPN said Monday that an average of 6.1 million people watched the show on both channels. The first episode had 6.3 million watchers, while the second episode had 5.8 million viewers.

That’s roughly 40% of the audience that ABC garnered for games for the 2019 NBA Finals (and remember, the documentary was aired on cable, not network TV).

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To put the numbers in better perspective, the previously most-watched documentary by the network was its “30 for 30” on Bo Jackson called “You Don’t Know Bo.” It first aired on ESPN in December 2012 was watched by 3.6 million Americans.

“The Last Dance,” a 10-part series focused on the Chicago Bulls’ 1997-98 season, was originally scheduled to begin in June, but with no major sports currently taking place, ESPN decided to move it up to April.

The Bulls are used to the title of “most-watched.” Game 6 of the 1998 NBA Finals, which was Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen’s last game with the team, was watched by an NBA-record 72 million people.

ESPN said 12.1 percent of the television households in Chicago were tuned to the documentary, the most of any city.

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