Ratings for the 2018 edition of the ESPY Awards fell dramatically in key demographics and total viewership, from 2017.
According to Variety, “Airing from 8-11 p.m., the ESPYs drew a 0.9 rating in adults 18-49 and 3.9 million viewers. Compared to the 1.4 and 5.3 million viewers the 2017 awards show pulled in, this year’s show was down approximately 36% in the key demo and 26% in total viewers. This also marks the heaviest drop off year-to-year going back two years.”
Much of the reaction to the awards show, has centered around the monologue delivered by former NASCAR driver Danica Patrick. A monologue that fell flat with several jokes that drew pained expressions from those in attendance.
According to the AP:
Her first joke about Cleveland fell flat. A crack about vertically challenged Astros second baseman Jose Altuve fell, uh, short too, although he managed a slight smile in the audience.
Patrick soldiered on, telling the audience, ‘We have to mention the elephant in the room. It’s time to talk about the national anthem controversy.’
At that point, a photo of NBA All-Star Game anthem singer Fergie came on screen and Patrick said, ‘I don’t know what Fergie was thinking either.’
Some athletes in the crowd sat stone-faced. Others looked uncomfortable or winced.
Social media wasn’t impressed, either. A woman tweeted, ‘Am I the only one who thinks Danica Patrick is super awkward as host?’
Another person posted a GIF of comic Steve Carell grimacing with the caption: ‘These Danica Patrick jokes not hitting … at all.’
The presentation also included a tribute to victims of sexual assault and sexual misconduct. Team USA gymnastics gold-medalist Aly Raisman spoke on behalf of the 140 gymnasts and victims of former Team USA Doctor Larry Nassar, as they accepted ESPN’s Arthur Ashe Courage Award.
Raisman said, “To all the survivors out there, don’t let anyone rewrite your story. Your truth does matter. You matter. And you are not alone.”
ESPN has seen a steep drop-off in ratings recently. Headlined by the massive failure of the network’s new morning television show, Get Up! A program which has only eclipsed the 300,000 viewer mark 13 times in 74 episodes.
Follow Dylan Gwinn on Twitter @themightygwinn