"The Last Dance", a 10-hour documentary airing for the next several weeks about Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls dynasty, thoroughly dominated online discussion last night with its premiere episode. While we don't have ratings quite yet to dive into, if you ask any sports fan what they care about this month it certainly won't be live sports. The only sports-related things of consequence happening until late this summer is the NFL Draft (which airs on ESPN) and this documentary (also airing on ESPN).

The Last Dance is a collaboration between ESPN ($DIS) and Netflix ($NFLX), but fans will have to tune into ESPN or ESPN 2 first to catch the episodes live. And that means most of the discussion, and most of the trending topics on Twitter last night, went to ESPN's social media.

After the Super Bowl in February is typically March Madness, followed by NBA and NHL playoffs, golf, tennis, and the start of baseball. This year, none of those things happened. All of them were canceled, and yet ESPN has managed to keep people interested and following them on Twitter. The heavy number of ads and teases for The Last Dance certainly helped a lot, especially since the documentary was moved up from its June premiere date to capitalize on more eyeballs.

March Madness was canceled for both men's basketball and women's basketball. The WNBA draft still went on as usual, but every ESPN account was used to aggressively promote The Last Dance, including ESPNW. The documentary might be what puts ESPNW over the quarter-million mark on Twitter since the WNBA season is also postponed going forward.

You can see the Facebook 'Talking About' count for ESPN was ready to nosedive into the ground without live sports, and April 1st was the point where things bounced back. If you've watched any TV in the last three weeks, you've probably seen a commercial about Michael Jordan and this doc. Give it a few more weeks, and there's a chance "The Last Dance" will hit levels of online discussion and buzz not seen since the Super Bowl, which is staggering.

If you want even more data to salivate over, our friends at Forbes put together some more numbers to crunch about the Bulls dynasty and MJ's value.

About the Data:

Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales. 

Further Reading: 

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