ESPN’s Bill Simmons took some serious shots at Fox Sports 1 in an interview with Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch.
FS1 — the ESPN killer that launched last in August — has had predictably low ratings in its first few weeks.
The channel is averaging 238,000 viewers in primetime, nearly 10 times less than ESPN’s 2.03 million.
When asked about FS1, Simmons said they aren’t even worth talking about:
“Fox Sports 1 talked a big game before they launched and deserved a little ribbing. Remember, they were posing for magazine covers, trying to steal ESPN people, bragging about having ‘fun’ and taking veiled shots at us. Meanwhile, the NBA previews I did with Jalen for Grantland Channel would be their highest-rated show right now. Why are we even talking about them, Deitsch? When they can come up with a show that can out-rate me and Jalen wearing the same clothes for six straight hours on YouTube, get back to me.”
Simmons is referring to a series of Grantland-produced YouTube videos that he did with Jalen Rose, which all have between 150,000 and 300,000 views.
It’s unfair to compare web traffic to Neilsen TV ratings.
In addition, the reasons people think FS1 is the first legitimate threat to ESPN — they have a ton of money and look determined to outbid ESPN for live-sports rights in the future — all have to do with the long-term. No one expected FS1 to come out of the box and out-rate ESPN.
The mere fact that Simmons is getting fired up over FS1 shows that the channel, on some level, threatens ESPN hegemony.
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