Unsurprisingly, Fox Sports 1 got smoked by ESPN in its first week in existence.
FS1, which is widely regarded as the most legitimate threat to ESPN hegemony that the industry has seen, averaged 161,000 viewers in primetime in its first week, compared to 2.17 million for ESPN, according to Variety.
FS1’s highlight show, Fox Sports Live, got similarly crushed by SportsCenter. Live averaged 75,000 viewers to SportsCenter’s 1.5 million:
Things are going to get better for FS1. Their plan was never to come in and challenge ESPN off the map right away. They have a nice portfolio of sports rights (including college football) that will give them a ratings boost in the coming months, but the ultimate success or failure of the channel will be determined by which broadcasting rights deals they can strike over the next decade or so.
Ratings won’t start mattering to FS1 for a few years.
But yeah, they’ve got a long way to go, even compared to second-tier sports channels. Right now they’re in 5th place:
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