Grantland’s NBA Previews Would Be the Most-Watched Show on Fox Sports 1

Fox Sports One came in with a bang about two months ago, but it’s slate of shows have not been much of a threat to the all-powerful ESPN. Here’s a roundup of some of their ratings in the past few months:

From SportsGrid: (Sept. 28)

This week one year ago, The Speed Channel pulled in around 253,000 viewers on average during the primetime 8pm-11pm time slot. Fox Sports 1 had 201,000. Gulp.

From Adweek: (Sept 20)

One FS1 property that hasn’t shown signs of early promise is the 5 p.m. panel show Crowd Goes Wild. Anchored by Regis Philbin and featuring a collective of talking heads (Georgie Thompson, Michael Kosta, Trevor Pryce, Jason Gay and Katie Nolan), Crowd’s weekday telecast last week averaged just over 65,000 viewers. On Sept. 9, Crowd drew a mere 28,000 viewers, its lowest turnout to date.

(By the way, this Adweek piece is weirdly positive for a network that hasn’t shown much.)

And this tweet from Sports Business Journal reporter John Ourand:

In his weekly column, Sports Illustrated media reporter Richard Deitsch interviewed Grantland’s Bill Simmons.

The “Sports Guy” responded to the brouhaha over FS1:

The NBA previews I did with Jalen for Grantland Channel would be their highest-rated show right now. Why are we even talking about them, Deitsch? When they can come up with a show that can out-rate me and Jalen wearing the same clothes for six straight hours on YouTube, get back to me.

Bill and Jalen Rose have been doing the previews for just about two weeks now and they’ve only covered the bottom of the barrel NBA teams so far.

Here are the views as of Tuesday morning:

Philadelphia 76ers: 203,086
Phoenix Suns: 231, 929
Orlando Magic: 130, 567
Utah Jazz: 126,277
Charlotte Bobcats: 347, 165 (Don’t think that many people care about the Bobcats, it was just SEO Optimized with Michael Jordan’s name.)
Sacramento Kings: 119,010
Boston Celtics: 281,626
Toronto Raptors: 132, 832
Atlanta Hawks: 244,999
Cleveland Cavaliers: 129,159
Washington Wizards: 103,162
New Orleans Pelicans: 72, 229

Granted, there is still no metric for comparing YouTube views to live television, but Simmons may have a point here. I would watch Bill and Jalen shoot the breeze for a half hour about NBA teams in prime-time.

However FS1’s criticism is likely a symptom of our succeed immediately or die culture. ESPN has been around for a while and Bill Simmons has been a known quantity for the last ten years.

And remember FS1, people crapped on Grantland before it even launched. (I bet Bill has a printout of that in his office and laughs at it every day.)