FS1 has long been the favorite to retain Skip Bayless and it appears the two sides are nearing a contract extension.
According to Michael McCarthy of Front Office Sports, Bayless is likely to receive “a slight raise” on his current $6 million per year salary. The four-year $24 million deal Bayless signed in 2016 is set to expire this month. Waiting until the last minute to resign a top talent is somewhat unusual, but COVID-19 may have played a role in the delay. Previously, there was some thought that Bayless might struggle to receive a contract offer more or equal to his current salary as sports media companies were ravaged by the pandemic.
News of the pending extension comes just a couple weeks after Bayless angered many people by saying he doesn’t have sympathy for Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott and his dealings with depression.
“We do not agree with Skip Bayless’ opinion on Undisputed this morning,” FS1 said in a statement in response to Bayless’ opinion of Prescott’s struggle with mental health. “We have addressed the significance of this matter with Skip and how his insensitive comments were received by people internally at FOX Sports and our audience.”
But despite Bayless causing outrage, and even as the network deals with financial ramifications of COVID-19, it appears FS1 still values the polarizing host enough to give him a new and rewarding contract.
In the first episode immediately following Bayless’ comments, his FS1 show Undisputed with Shannon Sharpe saw viewership spike from 175,000 to over 300,000 according to Ryan Glasspiegel of Outkick. In comparison, Bayless’ former show First Take, featuring Stephen A. Smith and Max Kellerman on ESPN averages more than 400,000 viewers.
According to McCarthy, the comments on mental health by Bayless caused a “bump” in his contract negotiations with FOX. Bayless received no publicly known repercussions by the network for his infamous opinion and he provided a clarification of the statement, but not an apology. Despite the “bump” the 68-year old Bayless doesn’t appear to be going anywhere.
Brandon Contes is a former reporter for BSM, now working for Awful Announcing. You can find him on Twitter @BrandonContes or reach him by email at Brandon.Contes@gmail.com.
ABC Scores Most Watched NBA Saturday Primetime Game In 4 Years
“The game drew 3.7 million viewers.”
The Boston Celtics beat the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday night. While the game’s controversial finish left LeBron James and Patrick Beverly upset, executives at the Walt Disney Company had nothing but smiles thanks to the performance of ABC.
The game drew 3.7 million viewers. That means the Celtics’ win is the most-watched game in the ABC Saturday night prime-time window in the last four years. A February 2019 game between the Lakers and Golden State Warriors drew 4.1 million.
Boston also delivered the highest-rated game of the NBA season so far outside of the league’s stacked Christmas Day slate.
NBA Saturday Primetime on ABC is experiencing a nice uptick in viewership this season. Through the weekend, the Saturday night games are averaging over 3.4 million viewers according to an ESPN press release.
That number represents a 16% jump from last season. The edition of NBA Countdown that airs before the Saturday night game is having a good season as well. It’s average audience is up 3% to just under 1.5 million.
NHL Ratings on ESPN, TNT Down in 2nd Year
So far this season, games on ESPN and TNT are averaging 373,000 viewers, which is down from 478,000 last season.
Viewership totals from ESPN and TNT show NHL ratings have declined heading into the All-Star break, but there are some extenuating circumstances for the nearly 22% drop.
So far this season, games on ESPN and TNT are averaging 373,000 viewers, which is down from 478,000 last season. However, both channels have increased their linear television schedule, doubling from 27 games to 54.
ESPN has aired 18 games with an average of 402,000 viewers. In the same time period last year, the worldwide leader had only aired seven contests, but garnered 622,000 per game. None of ESPN’s games last season had aired on weekends, while the network has broadcast six games on Sunday this year alone. The 12 games ESPN has aired that weren’t on Sunday have averaged 491,000 viewers.
The 2023 NHL All-Star Game will air on ABC Saturday, and the network is hoping for a lift from last season. In 2022, ratings fell 38% from the previous All-Star Game on NBC, and hit the lowest total since 2009. The NHL Skills challenge saw its largest audience in a decade after airing on ESPN in primetime on a Friday evening. Nearly 1.1 million watched the skills challenge, a 30% increase compared to 2020.
At this time last season, TNT had aired 20 games. Through 36 games this season, the network has seen an average of 359,000 viewers. The network is helped by the 2023 Winter Classic, which took place at Fenway Park on Monday, January 2nd. The afternoon contest saw an audience of 1.78 million, up 31% compared to the previous year.
AFC Championship Game Delivers New Viewership High For CBS
53.1 million viewers tuned in to see the Chiefs victory over the Bengals, making it the most-watched television program since Super Bowl LVI.
The AFC Championship Game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Cincinnati Bengals drew a massive audience for CBS.
53.1 million viewers tuned in to see the Chiefs’ controversial victory over the Bengals, making it the most-watched television program since Super Bowl LVI. Additionally, the event is the most-watched NFL Conference Championship Game since 2017.
CBS claims the game peaked with 59.3 million viewers and was also the most-streamed live sporting event in the history of Paramount+.
With an audience of 53.1 million, CBS concludes its NFL playoff coverage averaging 40.798 million viewers for each game. That leads all networks thus far. The 2022 NFL season was the most-watched regular season on CBS in the past seven seasons.