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FS1 Studio Shows Catapult 2020 Daily Viewership

Thanks to its studio shows, college football games and NASCAR races, FS1 surpassed ESPN2, NBCSN and NFL Network.

Kate Constable

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FS1

For the first time in a calendar year, FS1 finished 2020 as the second most-watched cable sports network on a total-day basis, according to Sports Business Daily’s John Ourand.

Thanks to its studio shows, college football games and NASCAR races, FS1 surpassed ESPN2, NBCSN and NFL Network. The SBJ report notes that “the race is really for second place, as ESPN has been the top sports network for the past several decades and remained in that position for both total day and primetime in 2020, according to Nielsen numbers.”

“It was a tough year for national cable; everybody’s down,” Mike Mulvihill, Executive Vice President, Head of Strategy and Analytics for Fox Sports, told SBJ in regard to COVID-19 postponing sports seasons. “Still, that’s a significant milestone for us to finally be No. 2 in national cable sports for an entire year in the seventh full calendar year of FS1.”

The SBJ report also notes that FS1’s studio programming accounted for 35% of its schedule and 30% of overall viewing, which is a vast comparison from the 4% of daily studio program viewing five years ago.

NFL Network finished the year in third place in total day numbers, while NBCSN was fourth and ESPN2 was fifth.

The table below depicts total-day viewership by network, per SBJ.

NETWORKTOTAL-DAY VIEWERSHIP (000)
ESPN564
FS1119
NFL Network113
NBCSN108
ESPN2107
Golf Channel83
MLB Network40
TUDN34
Tennis Channel27
NBA TV26
ESPNU25
ESPNews21
Big Ten Network20
Fox Deportes15
ESPN Deportes13
FS213
BeIN Sport Espanol10
BeIN Sport4

Sports TV News

3.72 Million Tune In To See LeBron James Break Scoring Record

Jordan Bondurant

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Getty Images

Lakers star LeBron James surpassed the NBA’s all-time scoring record on Tuesday night, and TNT benefitted from the milestone ratings wise.

According to Sports Media Watch, Tuesday night’s game averaged 2.98 million viewers. That figure made it TNT’s biggest regular season audience in over two years.

The broadcast peaked at 3.72 million around 11:45 p.m. when James passed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the record.

Reporting also indicated that the game was the number one single-network program on TV in key demographics.

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Sports TV News

Disney Makes ESPN Independent Division In Corporate Restructuring

Jordan Bondurant

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ESPN

Disney is in the process of reorganizing and restructuring the company, and details have emerged about the company’s plans for ESPN.

Deadline reported on Wednesday that ESPN will be one of three standalone segments comprising Disney. Entertainment and Parks, Experiences & Products are the other two segments.

The reorganization comes amid the exit of former CEO Bob Chapek and the re-entry of CEO Bob Iger. As one of Iger’s first moves back running Disney, he announced a restructuring of Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution.

It was also reported that Jimmy Pitaro will continue as the president of ESPN.

In total, more than 7,000 jobs will be eliminated after the restructuring.

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Sports TV News

Roger Goodell: ‘Wouldn’t Surprise Me’ To See Thursday Night Football Move to Flex Scheduling

“Not today, but it’ll certainly be something that’s on our horizon.”

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Thursday Night Football

In 2023, Monday Night Football will join Sunday Night Football in having the ability to flex NFL games into its window. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Thursday Night Football could someday join that elite club.

During his “State of the League” speech Wednesday, Goodell said Thursday Night Football having the ability to flex matchups “wouldn’t at all surprise me”.

“Not today, but it’ll certainly be something that’s on our horizon,” the NFL Commissioner said.

ESPN bargained for the ability to move higher profile games into Monday Night Football during its negotiations with the league for the next television contract that begins this upcoming season.

NBC has long held the ability to shift a select number of games from earlier windows into the Sunday Night Football primetime slot.

Amazon Prime Video just completed the first of an 11-year contract that sees the streaming platform spend nearly $1 billion per year on the Thursday Night Football package.

One of the largest storylines of Amazon’s debut season with the NFL was the near-constant ridicule from play-by-play announcer Al Michaels over the lackluster TNF schedule. Michaels made headlines over several weeks for his candor on the lack of interesting matchups, going as far as to joke that if the schedule didn’t improve he would retire.

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