Fox Sports 1 has bigger problems than just Crowd Goes Wild



I guess the Fox Sports 1 hashtag/marketing slogan “The 1 is Here” really should have been “The 0.1 is Here.”

After all, Crowd Goes Wild registered a 0.1 rating. And I hate to bring up Crowd Goes Wild again, but it’s hard not to when every time you flip on FS1, they’re promoting CGW quite a bit. The even worked a message of “please watch it” into their soccer highlights on Fox Sports Live.

That’s the first major problem with Fox Sports 1, they keep banging us over the head with Regis Philbin, Katie Nolan, the really unfunny stand-up comedian guy etc. Just forget about that and work on the other programming issues to resolve. You made a mistake- you went all in on a show with like 27 cohosts, none of which are interesting or entertaining.

Crowd Goes Wild will end up like The Chevy Chase Show or The Magic Hour. Fine. We know that. So stop putting it in the sidebar for every program on Fox Sports 1, and quit running those ads for it.

Let’s look at the bigger more important FS 1 programs.


Things have just gotten off on the wrong foot for the network.

We’re six days away from being a full month in, so it’s a fair time to look at what needs fixing. As you can tell, I really really want to see this network succeed, and truly give us a real alternative to the Mothership. Monopolist behavior is not good for anyone. And even duopoly is a preferable situation. At least it would be like American politics! A two party system is preferable to a one-party state.

But FS1 is being even more annoying with the cross-promotion and self-promotion than ESPN. (Of course, NBC is so obnoxious at doing those two things that they’ve made it an art form)

In the initial seconds of going live, the very first moment of FS1 brought us Charissa Thompson mispronouncing her own last name.


Then Fox Sports 1 on 1, a very promising half-hour interview show, unfortunately debuted with Tom Brady, THE WORST INTERVIEW SUBJECT ALIVE!

Seriously, Tom Brady is SO BORING that even when people misquote or misinterpret his soundbites, he’s still a worthless cliche convention. You heard that “Johnny Manziel is acting like a turd” line.

Here’s what he really said:

“I get pretty emotional. I have a lot of respect for the teammates, for my teammates, for my organization, and certainly for other guys in the NFL. There’s not a guy playing in the NFL who hasn’t earned the right to be here, and who isn’t supremely talented. He’s probably been the best athlete in his high school class, in his elementary school class. So when you look across the ball you have respect for those guys, and you treat them with respect because football’s a physical game. And as [Patriots owner Robert Kraft] would say, if you’re a turd, it’s going to come back to you.”

See typical Tom Brady collection of worthless bromides and platitudes.
So that show had some potential momentum…derailed right at the starting line.
Where Fox Sports 1 could really make headway is if they had a very good and legitimate NFL highlights show on Sunday nights. I flipped on FS1 on the first evening of the NFL season. This is literally what I heard when they opened their Chicago Bears highlights:
“Marc Trestman making his debut, coming over from the Canadian Football League, where by rule every player must drink a pint of maple syrup before every game.”
What are you doing??
All you have to do is not be annoying and aggravating. On NFL Network, Deion $anders with his irritating Cam Newton slobbering and Michael Irvin with his hit-the-mute-button-instantly Tim Tebow fawning is enough to turn away. ESPN’s NFL Primetime has Chris Berman. That’s it. Enough said about why that show is not tolerable. So all FS1 has to do is just give us NFL highlights without trying so hard. Don’t get cute. Just “game-manage” and you win, because the other two alternatives are like Rex Grossman.
These programs having issues are the micro level, let’s look at the macro level now:
FS1 averaged 161,000 viewers in primetime in its first week, compared to 2.17 million for ESPN, according to Variety.

FS1’s highlight show, Fox Sports Live, got similarly crushed by SportsCenter. Live averaged 75,000 viewers to SportsCenter’s 1.5 million.

We knew Fox Sports 1 wouldn’t come out of the gates and compete on equal footing with ESPN. No one expected that.
However, given all the hype and the non-stop media blitz preceding it’s arrival…no one expected them to accrue 1/14th as many viewers as Bristol. And who would have expected the head to head of flagship shows would see Fox Sports 1 attract 1/19th as many viewers as the evil empire?
Maybe it is too early to evaluate FS1, let’s see how they do with their college football broadcasts. That will undoubtedly push their numbers way way up. Of course, it’s not too early to pull the plug on Crowd Goes Wild.
Then again FS1 ratings are more at the level of the Golf Channel. Yikes! And below that NBC Sports Network. Double Yikes! So maybe it is time for some bigger retooling.

Paul M. Banks is the owner of The Sports, an affiliate of Fox Sports. An analyst for 95.7 The Fan, he also writes on Chicago sports media for Chicago Now. President Obama follows him on Twitter (@paulmbanks)

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  1. I really like this story. I have a hard time watching this new network, too. The programming can be nerve wracking at times.

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