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Fox Sports 1 Gains Ground On ESPN

Jason Barrett

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As the cliché goes, Rome wasn’t built in a day. For 24/7/365 sports channel FOX Sports 1, the climb to catch ESPN won’t be either, but there are clear signs there is progress being made.

FOX Sports 1 launched in August of 2013 with just a handful of programming options. UFC, NASCAR Trucks, Pac-12 and Big 12 college football and Big East college basketball were the slate on top of studio programming. Trying to go at ESPN with just those offerings was said to be like a restaurant opening with only a portion of its menu available.

In FS1’s second year they added regular and postseason Major League Baseball, the NASCAR Xfinity series and three Sprint Cup races, Gold Cup soccer, Women’s World Cup and USGA events including the US Open to the schedule. In doing so, the total number of sporting events being aired by FS1 rose 17 percent, going from 664 in Year 1 to 779 in Year 2.

That has helped FOX Sports 1 grow in the ratings. FS1 saw an increase 40 percent on total day viewership and 38 percent increase in prime time during the span.  Over the same span, the competition dropped. ESPN was down 9 percent for total day, and down 2 percent in prime time viewership, ESPN2  was down -3%/-12% while, NBCSN  came in at -19%/+2%.

For live programming, the results are more impressive. FS1 is up 54 percent over the same span (494,000 viewers vs. 390,000 viewers), and has surpassed ESPN2 and NBCSN to become the clear #2 network for live events behind The Worldwide Leader.

To add, FOX Sports 1’s reach, which is people watching at any point over the last year, is up 11 percent or 9.2 million viewers in FS1’s second year (96 million total viewers vs. 86.8 million).  Meanwhile ESPN’s reach is down 8.9 million (down 5 percent), ESPN2 is down 8.7 million (-6%), and NBCSN is down 6.1 million (-7%) when excluding the Olympics.

The October 15th Game 4 of the NLCS between the Cardinals-Giants posted a FS1-record 5.092 million viewers, breaking the 5 million viewer mark for the first time.

The FIFA Women’s World Cup games on FS1 were winners. The USA-Colombia FIFA WWC Round of 16 match set a new record for men’s or women’s soccer (4.716 million), and is No. 3 on FS1’s all-time list.

The first-ever regularly scheduled NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points race on FOX Sports 1 set a new record for a motorsports event on FS1, drawing 4.061million viewers which ranked at No. 5 on FS1’s all-time list.

So, is FS1 at a point where they can say they are at or better than ESPN? No. But, as a fledgling network goes, if FOX Sports 1 continues to grow at the pace it has, it should catch ESPN in a few short years. That should make ESPN look over their shoulder, and give FOX Sports added incentive to provide good programming to allow them to compete in not only Year 3 of FS1, but beyond.

Credit to Forbes who originally published this article

Sports TV News

Terry Bradshaw: I Was Going To Quit Broadcasting Before The NFL Today

“It wasn’t any fun. “And then The NFL Today came calling.

Jordan Bondurant

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Terry Bradshaw has done well with his broadcasting career. He’s glad he stuck with it.

When Bradshaw retired from playing in 1984, he hopped right into the broadcast booth at CBS. But Terry was open about admitting he just wasn’t cut out for a play-by-play role.

“I was a better player in the Super Bowl than I am as a broadcaster,” Bradshaw told BSM’s Demetri Ravanos on Radio Row in Phoenix on Tuesday. Bradshaw will be a part of the FOX NFL Sunday crew getting America ready for the big game.

“I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to stumble in broadcasting. And after a really hard talk and deciding well I’ll retire, I’m not gonna do this anymore. It wasn’t any fun,” Terry added. “And then The NFL Today came calling. And that’s really where I should’ve been.”

Bradshaw said a conversation with Ted Shaker at CBS helped change the trajectory of his broadcasting career.

Terry has made a name for himself being a form of comic relief on the FOX set. He said having a chance to have fun and not get too bogged down by talking about the minutiae of football is what makes his job fun.

“I don’t look at X’s and O’s. I don’t care anything about X’s and O’s,” Bradshaw said. “If I’ve got something that’s really important that involves X’s and O’s, I’ll say it. But where am I gonna get that? Who’s gonna share that with me? Nobody!”

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Sports TV News

FOX Expects Record Audience for Super Bowl LVII

“Those eastern Pennsylvania markets, Scranton and Harrisburg, are bigger than people really realize.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Viewership for the Super Bowl this weekend has the potential to be the best on record. One FOX executive believes Sunday’s Chiefs/Eagles matchup will surpass the mark set by the last Super Bowl played at State Farm Stadium.

In 2015, Patriots/Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX drew in 115.2 million on NBC. Last year’s Super Bowl, which featured the Rams and Bengals, was the first since 2017 to have an audience larger than 110 million.

Mike Mulvihill, FOX Sports Executive Vice President and Head of Strategy & Analytics, told Sports Business Journal that the trend is pointing toward 115 million again.

“We’re going to see a huge pop in Philly and probably a little bit of a pop in New York,” Mulvihill said. “Those eastern Pennsylvania markets, Scranton and Harrisburg, are bigger than people really realize. I think we’ll see at least a million additional viewers just from the Eagles’ home territory.”

Mulvihill also said the fact that viewership for the regular season across the board, as well as playoffs, has been the best in eight years is a big reason why he’s anticipating a record-setting audience.

“The big events of this season have really delivered, so that gives you a backdrop of optimism,” he said.

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Sports TV News

NHL All-Star Game Ratings See 31% Increase

The event on ABC saw an average of 1.5 million viewers over the weekend, with the game peaking at 1.9 million viewers.

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After a less-than-stellar report on the television ratings front for the first half of the NHL season, ESPN saw encouraging news from the 2023 NHL All-Star Game ratings.

The event on ABC saw an average of 1.5 million viewers over the weekend, with the game peaking at 1.9 million viewers.

That number is a 31% increase over the 2022 edition of the event, ESPN reported. In the coveted 18-49 demographic, the festivities were up 52% compared to a season ago.

On Friday evening, the NHL All-Star Skills event was the top-rated cable program in the 18-49 demo, with an average of just over 1 million viewers.

However, last year’s events — bot the NHL All-Star Skills and NHL All-Star Game — were faced by competition from the 2022 Winter Olympics.

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