Thursday, August 29, 2013

Growing Pains For Fox Sports 1

After an impressive debut two Saturdays ago, FOX Sports 1 is learning quickly that competing with the established juggernaut that is ESPN is not going to be an easy task at all. FOX Sports 1’s debut success stemmed largely from the live UFC Fight Night card that pulled an impressive 1.38 rating, grabbing 1.78 million viewers according to Nielsen. The network’s version of SportsCenter, called FOX Sports Live, also had an impressive debut number with a 0.2 rating.

However, the last couple of days have not been kind to the fledgling network as Variety and Nielsen are reporting that FS1 is drawing just 81,000 viewers a day compared to the 100,000 that the network it replaced (The SPEED Channel) drew on a daily basis. The primetime hours are not any better for FS1 as the new network trails ESPN, ESPN2, NFL Network, and MLB network according to John Ourand of the Sports Business Journal in primetime viewership. Finally, FOX Sports Live’s ratings have tanked as this past Monday’s episode registered a putrid 0.0 overnight rating. According to Awful Announcing, Sportscenter has 16 times the audience of FSL.

Now, it is not very likely that FOX expected to immediately crush ESPN in two weeks so there is no need for panic. In fact, the network defeated the NBC Sports Network in primetime viewers last week according to John Ourand. However, it will be a long while before FS1 can even make a dent in ESPN and their 30+ years of programming. As long as FS1 can stay the course with quality programs and events people want to see (perhaps NFL or MLB games?), who knows what can happen in the next five-to-ten years?


 Aaron J. Coleman is currently a sport management major at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA minoring in Communication (with a focus in Public Relations). He was born and raised in Upper Marlboro, MD, a suburb outside of Washington, DC. He is currently a supervisor for Drexel’s Intramural Sports program and also an intern for the Arena Football Legaue’s Philadelphia Soul franchise. He covers the Chicago Bulls, New York Yankees, and Washington Redskins (his favorite squads along with the Washington Capitals and Drexel Dragons) for Follow Aaron on Twitter @shutupCole.

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