Update October 24: here’s the most up-to-date data.
My guess is that FS1 had to be hoping for more (ratings-wise) from “Skip & Shannon: Undisputed.” That guess could be wrong, but even if FS1’s execs aren’t jumping for joy over “Undisputed’s” numbers, at least ESPN2’s “First Take” is down 28 percent year over year through its first eight days competing with “Undisputed.” That must have the Fox Sports execs smiling at least a little.
How much of “First Take’s” decline is due to the loss of Skip Bayless and new competition from Bayless? How much is due to ESPN subscriber losses? How much is due to normal year over year erosion in the era of ever-expanding boredom-killing options? Those are interesting questions and I hope to take a look at them as the year progresses.
One other data point: ESPN’s “Pardon the Interruption” is down 15 percent in the aggregate year over year for seven* of those same eight days. If you want to chalk up some of those declines to FS1 scheduling “Speak for Yourself” from 5-6pm, have at it, but based on the numbers for “Speak for Yourself” it definitely doesn’t explain all of PTI’s declines.
*There was a day the show aired on ESPN2 last year that aired on ESPN News this year so I took that day out of the mix.
I Tweeted these charts out the other day (the 2nd via Deadspin’s Kevin Draper includes the week before Labor Day):