11/04/19: FS1’s Dixon breaks down the channel’s daytime growth for its studio shows

 

Monday November 4, 2019
At the tender age of six, FOX Sports 1 has recently been touting the success and growth of its studio shows throughout 2019 , offering a blend of debate, interviews and analysis on a daily basis via series like Undisputed and The Herd, which have found their footing, and joining the likes of First Things First and Lock It In. Cynopsis Sports asked Charlie Dixon, Executive Vice President, Content, FS1 about the growth and development of the channel’s pillar programming, the daypart, and how it is impacting advertising. (Side note: The Big Lead reported on Sunday that First Things First host Cris Carter has been suspended from the show, pending a FOX investigation. He was off the morning program on Thursday and Friday.)
 
Dixon on the growth of FS1’s daily studio shows: A common thread in cable ratings seems to be this sense of overall attrition, but we’re thrilled to be seeing positive gains for the daily studio shows with year-over-year growth across the board on FS1. We constantly compare ourselves to the prior year, trying to beat ourselves and succeed. For example, last month finished as the studio shows’ most-watched October ever and our second-best month all-time, out-ranked only by January 2019 which we’ll aim to beat in 2020. The best part of that story is we’ve been doing it consistently now for four years. That’s not the common trend across cable television these days.
 
On the keys to success: It begins and ends with talent for us. We’re not a formula-based network. We make big bets whether it’s in live sports or in our studio shows, betting on personalities that people want to watch. That’s what viewers come for. But equally important is that there’s not a sameness to our network. From Skip Bayless to Colin Cowherd to Jason Whitlock, they do not look at the world in the same way, but the one thing they do share is an unyielding love of sports.
 
On Skip Bayless and Undisputed: If we look at the overall day-part as a fine automobile, the engine would be Undisputed led by Skip and Shannon Sharpe. The show has been an unbelievable year-over-year, double-digit increase success story for four consecutive years, right in the key part of the day. Undisputed remains the driving force behind the sustained growth, pulling in the highest average and total audiences on FS1. Once Skip has the ball and he generates the ratings, Colin takes it, then passes it down to the line to Jason and that’s how the network continue to grow.
 
On advertisers: While the daily figures are strong in their own right, these show ratings are most impressive when viewed across weeks or months. For example, Undisputed’s daily average audience of nearly 200,000 viewers correlated to 3.4 million viewers in total audience for October 2019, a +37% increase over 2018. This audience is the core fan, and the linear product is just the beginning of the process. We reach avid sports fans across all platforms with incisive opinions throughout the day, a valuable base that is young and diverse, who keep coming back across the entire FOX Sports content portfolio.
 
PROGRAMMING

ESPN and Formula 1 inked a new deal that will keep the FIA Formula One World Championship on ESPN and ABC through 2022. In addition, ESPN Deportes will now serve as the exclusive Spanish-language home for all Formula 1 races in the U.S. starting in 2020. Terms of the agreement will see all F1 races continue to air live on either ESPN, ESPN2 or ABC while all practice sessions, qualifying and races will air live and in replay across ESPN platforms, including on-demand replays on the ESPN App. ESPN also will continue to air the races commercial-free and will again partner with Sky Sports and Formula 1 to bring Sky Sports’ presentation of Formula 1 racing to American viewers.
 
CBS Sports reports that its coverage of Georgia/Florida as the SEC on CBS game on Saturday drew a 4.3/11 household rating/share in the metered markets, and ranking as the highest-rated college football game of the day. The matchup was also the highest-rated SEC Conference game on any network this season and up 2% over last year’s Georgia-Florida contest.
 
Last week’s edition of Thursday Night Football, which saw the 49ers topple the Cardinals, was seen by an average audience of 14.6 million across all platforms, according to the league. The 14.6 million viewers for 49ers-Cardinals across all platforms is up 27% over last year’s Week 9 Thursday Night Football matchup between the 49ers and Oakland Raiders. Season-to-date, the Thursday Night Football tri-cast is averaging 15.7 million viewers – up 21%.
 
Rounding out the ratings news, ESPN is reporting that the 2019 MLS Cup Playoffs is up 36% for the company ahead of the MLS Cup Final on Sunday at 3p on ABC. The four single-elimination playoff matches on ESPN and ESPN2 delivered an average audience of 388,000 viewers, up from 286,000 viewers for seven playoff matches on the same networks in 2018, according to Nielsen. This has ranked as ESPN’s most-viewed MLS Cup Playoffs since 2012. Tuesday night’s MLS Western Conference Final on ESPN, a 3-1 Seattle Sounders road victory over LAFC, averaged 389,000 viewers, up 7% year-over-year.
 
HBO serves up the feature-length documentary Lindsey Vonn: The Final Season on Nov. 26 at 10p. Produced in conjunction with Teton Gravity Research, the special “recounts the iconic skier’s last competitive campaign while looking back on her transcendent career, from child prodigy to decorated Olympian to global superstar.”
 
Couple of hits on the local front. The United Fight Alliance locked in a distribution agreement with NBC Sports Boston to expand its existing distribution on NBC Sports Chicago, Washington, Philadelphia, California and Northwest. Beginning in November, Combat Sports fans will be able to watch UFA’s one-hour programming.
 
After a two-month run in the dark, Altitude TV is returning to Denverarea homes, announcing a deal with AT&T for the RSN to relaunch on DirecTV. The Kroenke Sports and Entertainment channel still remains off of the Comcast and DISH Network lineups however.
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SPORTS INNOVATION CONFERENCE 
THE EPICENTER OF SPORTS AND TECH
 
NOVEMBER 6, 2019 • CITIZENS BANK PARK, PHILADELPHIA
 
Join Ryan Howard, David Stern, Ralph Sampson, Ken Shropshire, and many more industry thought leaders focused on sports technology, esports, and sports betting – industries where innovation is moving at an accelerated pace.
 
SPONSORSHIP & PROMOTION

CareerBuilder cemented a deal with WWE to co-present the upcoming WWE Survivor Series event on Nov. 24, and will be offering fans the opportunity to win an all-expense paid experience to attend WrestleMania 36 in Tampa. “WWE fans exhibit the traits that we value most – passion, hard work and dedication. We’re thrilled to celebrate these individuals through our partnership,” said Irina Novoselsky, CEO of CareerBuilder. “Over the last year, we’ve brought together 2 billion data points and 25 years of job history and trends to build tools that meet the changing demands of today’s workforce. We’re excited to connect millions of job seekers with the tools that will help them find better paying work, closer to home.”
 
Chevrolet is switching gears and will feature the Camaro ZL1 1LE in the NASCAR Cup Series in 2020, replacing the Camaro ZL1, which made its series debut in 2018. NASCAR reports that the model will make its competition debut next February during Daytona Speedweeks.
 
The Philadelphia Eagles and Unibet entered a multiyear partnership, marking the franchise’s first official casino partnership where Unibet will receive a permanent branding presence on Lincoln Financial Field’s newly constructed Northwest Suites in addition to exposure across the Eagles’ digital and print inventory. The deal marks the Eagles’ first with a betting partner.
 
DIGITAL, DATA & TECH

For the first time on the ATP Tour, players will be permitted to don wearable technology during competition this year as part of the Next Gen ATP Finals. The event runs Nov. 5-9 in Milan, with the data collected set to allow players and coaches at the 21-and-under event to “quantify the demands of the competition, better understand athlete loading and make key performance decisions that are supported with objective data.” The GPS receiver and inertial sensors in the device will measure velocity and direction, acceleration and force, rotation, body orientation, and will quantify internal load (through heart rate).
 
ESPORTS

BlizzCon wrapped up in Anaheim with news on the Overwatch League front in addition to the bevy of game announcements offered this year at the confab. The league detailed plans for a new midseason tournament that will take place during All-Star Weekend in addition to changes to regular season competitive play, including all games next season set to be played to three map victories, eliminating the need for a fourth map if the outcome had already been determined. With a shift to the Homestand format in 2020, the league will now offer a new midseason tournament that will feature the top four teams in the standings, including the division leaders. The league also maintained its desire to reach about 28 franchises around the world, despite not expanding for its third season.
 
A G2 Esports/SK Telecom T1 battle to cement a slot in the League of Legends World Championship finals clocked 3,985,787 peak viewers for its fourth and final game across multiple platforms worldwide, not including China. Esports Charts reports that average concurrent viewership nearly hitting 2.5 million, clocking 11.5 million hours watched.
 
All 12 franchise monikers have now been revealed for the upcoming inaugural season of the Call of Duty League. The final announcement for names and branding elements was for the Paris Legion. “Defenders of liberty and innovation have always found refuge in Paris,” the team explained in the announcement. “We will be worthy of our city’s traditions: fighting, conquest, and fraternity.” They will join the London Royal Ravens, Los Angeles Guerrillas, Dallas Empire, New York Subliners, OpTic Gaming Los Angeles, Toronto Ultra, Atlanta FaZe, Florida Mutineers, Minnesota RØKKR, Seattle Surge, Chicago Huntsmen. The inaugural season of the Call of Duty League will begin on Jan. 24.
 
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In the Know
Which university is the current NCAA Ski Champion? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your company and city).

 
Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question
In the NHL, who was known as the Grim Reaper?  Answer: Stu Grimson. Kudos:
Michael Ritz-Northwestern Mutual/NY; Pete Gautieri-A&E Networks/NY; Jim Bono-NBCU Hispanic/Telemundo Deportes/NY; Holli Sarner-Home Team Sports/NY; Howie Schwab/Fort Lauderdale; Kathi Gillin-Comcast Spotlight/North Wales; Alex D. Smith-ESPN/Bristol; Matt Sautter-WideOrbit/Harrisburg; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station Bill Robertson-WCHA/Bloomington; Tom Perry-IEG/Chicago; Greg Moloznik-GLM Media/Scottsdale; Jack Neumann-University of Calgary Dinos 5th Quarter Alumni Development/Calgary; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Credit Union/Burbank

Later – Chris
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