As ESPN transitions from a sports recap and highlight driven network, to more personality centric programming, ‘First Take’ remains a constant.
After declining ratings in 2016 following the departure of Skip Bayless to Fox Sports 1, ‘First Take’ has rebounded since being moved from ESPN2 to ESPN in January. First Take’s ratings spiked 53% from last year for the month of October and the success continued in November with a 70% increase when compared to the same time period in 2016.
“The ‘First Take’ team is dedicated to working harder and smarter to provide our fans with a program they can count on for thought provoking debates and discussions, no matter the topics,” said David Roberts, ESPN Vice President, Network Content. “That commitment will continue as we wrap up 2017 and look forward to even greater success stories in the New Year. All of us are thankful for a very loyal and growing fan base.”
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. This year, the ESPN show averaged 465,000 viewers in October and 511,000 in November. November also saw an increase of 91% for their target market of men 18-34.
Thanksgiving week gave the show a boost, with ‘First Take’ garnering their first and sixth highest rated programs of the year on Thursday and Friday. Thanksgiving Day’s episode with guest Tim Tebow received 727,000 viewers along with 697,000 for Friday’s show.
After stabilizing the show following a down 2016, ‘First Take’ experienced ratings success and dominance over rival show ‘Undisputed’ with Shannon Sharpe and Skip Bayless on Fox Sports 1 as they still look to develop. In November, ‘First Take’ outperformed ‘Undisputed’ 511,000 to 162,000 and 109,000 to 29,000 among men 18-34.