Last month, we joined America in mourning the loss of the institution that is The Speed Channel, as it pulled out of the garage for one last time. You responded overwhelmingly in opposition to the change, often sounding puzzled why in God’s name Fox would even bother touching your precious 24-hour automotive network. The higher-ups thought it’d work out best for everyone.
They were wrong.
The ratings are in and they’re not looking good for Fox Sports 1. 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.
This is a big deal for two major reasons:
1. Fox Sports 1 costs exponentially more to produce than programming for the Speed Channel
2. Nobody wanted to see The Speed Channel go in the first place
Ladies and gents, this is what they call a lose/lose situation.
Not only did they fall short of the mark vis-a-vis last year’s numbers, but they failed horribly to measure up to their competition. I mean, it goes without saying that the decision to turn Speed into a 24-hour ESPN competitor was an singularly focused attempt at syphoning ratings from the sports megalith in Bristol. That did not happen. ESPN had 2,828,000 viewers during that same period. Once again, Fox Sports 1 had 201,000. That’s over 1000% more viewers than the fledgling network.
[Via USA TODAY] Fox Sports Exec David Hill: “It’s going to take us a while. We’re not expecting to knock ESPN off in the first week or two. It’s going to take two to three years. It will be a slog.”
You hear that? That’s the sound of everyone at Fox Sports 1 getting fired.
What’s worse, is that these disappointing numbers (understatement) come during the biggest month for sports television, as NCAA and NFL football seasons began during the measured period. Expect Fox to beef up it’s bid for the NBA TV rights when they become available in 2015, because the wheels are falling off this bus.
Anyone out there know how to replace a tire? Let us know what you think, guys.
H/T Jason Whitlock