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Fox Sports 1 Gains Ground On ESPN



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

Lauren Shehadi: Ernie Johnson Is The Model For Studio Hosts

“To me, he’s the greatest in-studio host. What he does best is facilitate greatness.”



In addition to her job at MLB Network being a host on MLB Central, Lauren Shehadi is hosting TBS’s Tuesday night baseball coverage each week with Jimmy Rollins, Curtis Granderson, and Pedro Martinez. The Tuesday night games are new for Turner Sports this year after doing only Sunday games during the regular season in addition to the network’s postseason coverage. 

Shehadi was a guest on The Kyle Koster Show this week and she was asked what the goal was for her with the MLB on TBS Tuesday broadcasts. She takes a lot of inspiration from what she sees on Inside The NBA on TNT.

“I always think about Ernie Johnson in the same building. To me, he’s the greatest in-studio host. What he does best is facilitate greatness. He gets the most out of Shaq and Kenny [Smith] and Charles [Barkley]. If there’s no ego involved, it’s all about how the show can be so great.

“You look at him and you think how can I be like that? You want to be authentic and be yourself, but in the sense of getting the best out of your guys and girls that you talk to every day. That was my goal going in, Be authentic.”

Shehadi said she gets to spend a lot of time with Johnson and the rest of the Turner Sports crew. Tuesday nights tend to be something of a corporate family reunion. 

“On Tuesday nights, we all sit in a room and we all watch NBA, MLB, and NHL when it’s on. We get Shaq’s reaction to Sandy Alcantara’s slider in real-time. What we see from Inside The NBA is when they do demos. When they get up and walk and they are casual and they do little bits, that’s what we try to take to our show, but we want it to feel authentic.” 

When Shehadi isn’t hosting Turner Sports’ baseball coverage, she is a part of MLB Central every weekday on MLB Network with Robert Flores and Mark DeRosa. On that show, the goal for her is how to make baseball relatable to everyone: 

“That’s the sweet spot of MLB Central. No question is silly. Nobody is smarter than the other. We laugh at ourselves. We laugh at each other. It is just a fun 4 hours, grab your coffee, let’s talk the game, let’s laugh because life is short and baseball is fun.” 

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Sports TV News

AT&T Sportsnet’s Kelsey Wingert Shows Off Stitches After Being Drilled Line Drive

“The veteran reporter is expected to get married in June. Doctors are “hoping” the scar doesn’t effect her big day.”



Baseball reporters at the regional level have some of the toughest jobs in all of sports. Not only do they cover each for all 162 games, but there’s always the potential for getting drilled by a foul ball.

While all MLB ball clubs have expanded their netting this season to protect fans sitting close to the field, Rockies sideline reporter Kelsey Wingert suffered a nasty injury via a foul ball earlier this week.

A scary incident took place on Monday’s outing against the Rockies and San Francisco Giants at Coors Field in Denver. In the ninth inning, Giants outfielder Austin Slater hit a foul ball off Daniel Bard, with the ball heading straight to the dugout, right where Wingert was standing while reporting for AT&T Sportsnet.

After getting attended to by the Rockies medical staff and walking it off, giving fans a “thumbs up,” Wingert ended up having to go to the hospital where she received multiple stitches to her forehead.

The 29-year-old reporter took to Twitter on Wednesday to express her gratitude towards the Rockies organization and AT&T Sportsnet general manager David Woodman, who along with his wife Paula, stayed by her side at the hospital.

“I had a CT scan to make sure there was no internal bleeding or fractures and all came back clear. Thank God,” Wingert said on Twitter Wednesday. “The stitches will have to come out in a week. I’m very lucky it wasn’t worse. It was just really scary and bummed me out given the circumstances.”

You would think this was the first time Wingert got hit by a ball but back in 2018 while working for Fox Sports and the Atlanta Braves she was struck by a foul ball while standing near a camera past the Braves dugout, resulting in a fractured eye socket. 

Wingert retweeted a photo taken of her black eye after returning home where she made light of what could’ve been an awful occurrence.

While recovering from her wound, Wingert will be taking a few games off. The veteran reporter is expected to get married in June. Doctors are “hoping” the scar doesn’t effect her big day.

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Sports TV News

Greg Olsen To Partner With Kevin Burkhardt For Super Bowl LVII

“Last season was the first Burkhardt and Olsen worked together. They largely won rave reviews.”



The deal isn’t done yet, but Andrew Marchand of The New York Post reports that Greg Olsen is on his way to joining Kevin Burkhardt in the top NFL booth at FOX. Although Tom Brady will take over that role after he retires and leaves the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Olsen will spend at least this season on FOX’s A-Team.

Last season was the first Burkhardt and Olsen worked together. They largely won rave reviews.

Earlier this year, the former Panther told The Mac Attack on WFNZ in Charlotte that he was disappointed he didn’t get to call a postseason game. He will more than make up for that in 2023. As Burkhardt’s partner, Olsen is in line to be the analyst for Super Bowl LVII.

Marchand writes that we could get a taste of what is to come in February. He speculates that if the Buccaneers are not in the Super Bowl, it is possible Tom Brady could make his FOX debut, either in the booth alongside Kevin Burkhardt and Greg Olsen or as part of the network’s studio show.

Now, FOX has to make a decision about it’s number 2 NFL booth. According to Marchand, Drew Brees is a candidate to be the analyst. Adam Amin and Joe Davis have emerged as candidates for the play-by-play role.

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