Fox Sports launched upstart network FS1 to challenge ESPN’s preeminence in sports television. FS1 has poached big name ESPN talent and former ESPN executives.
Fox Sports PR also sends out ringing press releases touting every ratings “win” against ESPN (as PR people do). Some can be rather contorted. Here is one comparing Skip Bayless’ Undisputed with secondary programming on ESPN2 during one timeslot.
ESPN has had enough of this apparently. ESPN PR hard tackled Fox Sports PR on its own blog, accusing FS1 of moving their target on failed challenges to ESPN. They even tweeted it with a GIF for emphasis. Rebutting that specific point above, ESPN points out the 10 am Sportscenter has become their target because First Take is drawing four times as much of an audience as Undisputed in 2017.
Fox Sports probably would retort that ESPN moved First Take to ESPN from ESPN2 to beef up ratings numbers that were in decline after Skip Bayless left for FS1.
Regardless of the truth, major sports network PR fights are great for the sports blogging industry. So, keep up the good work, ESPN and FS1. Make it petty and personal. Show little regard for decency.
Full Disclosure: The Big Lead editor-in-chief Jason McIntyre appears on FS1’s “Speak For Yourself” and hosts a Fox Sports Radio show.