Last month, ESPN saw its lowest ratings in the network’s 41-year history as “WokeCenter on steroids” takes over, Outkick’s Clay Travis noted on Friday.
On his popular Outkick the Coverage site, Travis insisted that the cable network’s ratings crash was not because of the coronavirus, but instead because it has allowed itself to, once again, become all about politics in place of sports.
“The network, which has become more left-wing than MSNBC and CNN combined over the past several weeks, has completely abandoned sports coverage, Travis wrote on June 12. “The result? Viewers, many of whom were willing to watch the channel even during a pandemic disaster with limited sports to consume, have abandoned it in droves. How bad was it? We’re talking full-on crisis mode level awfulness.”
Travis pointed out that even the network’s highest-rated show, First Take, had pitiful ratings. The show only earned 211,000 viewers, and that place it as the 93rd show on all of cable.
Travis put that in perspective:
Putting those numbers into context compared to other shows airing the same day on cable: “Nick Cannon Wild and Out 15” on VH1 had 50% more viewers than ESPN’s top show. “Smuggler: Secret Stash” on National Geographic doubled First Take. Not to be outdone, “Craig of the Creek” on the Cartoon Network posted 200,000 more viewers…. Hell, even “Jay Leno’s Garage” on CNBC soundly defeated First Take… So did something called “Ant Anstead Master Mechanic” on a channel called Motor Trend.
Travis also reviewed the ratings of a list of other ESPN shows.
Get Up only had 136,000, the lowest ratings that Travis could find for the show. Meanwhile The Jump only saw 112,000 viewers, Highly Questionable got 151,000 sets of eyeballs, and Around the Horn found 175,000 viewers. The latter were also the lowest ratings on record, according to Travis.
Travis did note that sports viewership is down across the board because of the coronavirus shutdowns that have ended much of the sports world. But he felt ESPN’s troubles went farther than that.
After all, Travis noted, Fox Sports 1’s “Race Hub was the highest-rated sports studio show by a massive amount, posting 324,000 viewers.” And FS1’s show has never been able to crush ESPN before.
Why does it matter, Travis asked. “Because it’s an ominous sign for sports ratings to be tanking as sports prepare to return to play.
“There are many serious things going on in our country right now, and the vast majority of sports fans know where to find news about serious things going on in the world. That’s why cable news ratings have skyrocketed. But sports fans don’t want their sports commentators to be weighing in on non-sports news on sports networks,” Travis said.
“The ratings are clear about that,” he added. “And the ratings are clear that sports fans just want to watch games as well. Twitter gets happy when athletes and sports commentators weigh in on non-sports topics, but Twitter, as always, isn’t the real world. It’s a distorted, funhouse mirror carnival version of the real world. The data is clear: sports fans want sports.
“How much worse can it get? That just depends on how much more WokeCenter we get and whether anyone at ESPN can regain the station controls,” he concluded.
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