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ESPN Switch Has Led To Higher Ratings For First Take

ESPN’s First Take averaged 465,000 viewers from Sept. 25th– Oct. 29th according to Nielsen. It was a 53% increase for the show in comparison to the same time period from 2016.

The spike in ratings brought First Take’s viewership numbers closer to what they were in 2015, before Skip Bayless departed for FS1. According to Sports TV Ratings, First Take averaged an audience of 306,000 in 2016 from Labor Day through mid-November, in 2015 with Skip Bayless, the show averaged 469,000 viewers.

After declining viewership in 2016, the network decided to move the show from ESPN2 to ESPN this past January in an effort to boost the ratings. The move seems to have helped with October’s audience being just 4,000 less than that of their fall numbers for 2015.

Taking the show on the road generated an increased audience, with viewership jumping 45% from the previous year on October 17th for the Cavaliers home opener, and an 87% increase the following day when the show was in Los Angeles for the Lakers opener. The largest audience First Take garnered during the time frame came on September 25th following President Trump’s statements regarding NFL with 578,000 viewers.

First Take’s audience was more than triple that of their rival show on FS1, Undisputed, featuring Skip Bayless and Shannon Sharpe. Undisputed averaged 151,000 viewers, including 33,000 for the target audience of men 18-34, compared to 465,000 and 151,000 for First Take.

Brandon Contes is a freelance writer for BSM. He can be found on Twitter @BrandonContes. To reach him by email click here.

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