First Take is coming off their highest rated year since the show launched as Cold Pizza in 2005. 2017 was the first full year First Take was led by the trio of Stephen A. Smith, Max Kellerman and Molly Qerim, it was also the first year the program was shown on ESPN instead of ESPN2.
“It’s been a phenomenal year,” said ESPN First Take commentator Stephen A. Smith. “But that’s what happens when you’re blessed with tremendous leadership and support from the top on down, to all the producers on our show daily, along with teammates like Max and Molly. With that said, we’re just getting started. For anyone expecting us to take our foot off the gas, think again. Onward and upward in 2018.”
The move to ESPN undoubtedly provided First Take with a larger audience which means comparing 2018 ratings with 2017 will offer more accurate analysis. First Take is off to a strong start in 2018 with a 7% increase in overall viewership for the month of January when compared to 2017.
During January, First Take averaged 503,000 viewers, including 103,000 women which is a 13% jump from their January 2017 numbers. First Take also ranked #1 on overall networks during the 10am to noon ET timeslot for men 18-34.
First Take’s impressive January ratings continued into the month of February with their Super Bowl coverage. The program’s viewership for the Wednesday through Friday shows prior to the Super Bowl enjoyed a 16% increase when compared to the same pre-Super Bowl shows from 2017. Monday’s post-Super Bowl show equaled First Take’s largest rated show ever with a 0.6 household rating, a number the program has achieved five times since the move to ESPN last January.
Brandon Contes is a former reporter for BSM, now working for Awful Announcing. You can find him on Twitter @BrandonContes or reach him by email at Brandon.Contes@gmail.com.
Curt Menefee to Call Two Seahawks Preseason Games
FOX NFL studio host Curt Menefee will be on the TV play-by-play for the preseason opener on August 13 and the finale on August 26.
The 2022 NFL preseason is going to kick off in earnest later this week, and the Seattle Seahawks have revealed their broadcast crews for two of the team’s three preseason contests.
FOX NFL studio host Curt Menefee will be on the TV play-by-play for the preseason opener on August 13 and the finale on August 26. He’ll be joined in the booth by former Seahawk Michael Robinson. The games will air locally on KING 5, the city’s NBC affiliate.
Additionally for the TV broadcasts, Paul Silvi and Ray Roberts will host the pre and postgame shows, with former Seahawk Michael Bennett working as an analyst.
On the radio, Steve Raible and Dave Wyman will call all three games. Jen Mueller will be the sideline reporter. Michael Bumpus will be the studio host and will be joined by former players Jordan Babineaux, Paul Moyer, Roberts, Marcus Trufant and Robert Turbin.
Radio broadcasts air on Seattle Sports 710 AM and KIRO Newsradio 97.3 FM and are distributed across Washington on the Seahawks Radio Network.
Jordan Bondurant is a features reporter for Barrett News Media. He also works for ABC8 News and Newsradio WRVA and 910 The Fan in Richmond, Virginia. His prior experiences include working for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Danville Register & Bee, Virginia Lawyers Weekly and iHeartradio Richmond. He can be reached by email at Jordan.E.Bondurant@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter @J__Bondurant.
After Losing Out On Big Ten Rights, ESPN Turns Focus to NCAA Championships
According to Front Office Sports, ESPN’s contract for 29 NCAA Championships ends in 2024.
After reportedly losing out on the Big Ten’s television rights, ESPN is reportedly turning to securing the NCAA Championship rights from hitting the open market.
According to Front Office Sports, ESPN’s contract for 29 NCAA Championships ends in 2024. Those 29 championships include everything from Women’s basketball to ice hockey, wrestling, softball, and baseball. The network pays a reported $34 million for the rights to broadcast those championship events.
However, according to a study commissioned by the NCAA reveals that the women’s basketball tournament could be worth anywhere from $81 million to $112 million per year by its lonesome. The NCAA is reportedly considering selling the women’s basketball tournament rights as a standalone product in the next negotiation.
Sources told Front Office Sports ESPN remains interested in striking deals with the Pac-12 and Big 12 media rights, as well as renewing a deal for the College Football Playoff.
The news comes after Sports Business Journal’s John Ourand reported ESPN declined a final offer from the Big Ten for a portion of the conference’s media rights. The reported deal was seven years and $380 million per year.
ESPN Announces The Return of Stephen A. Smith to First Take
ESPN announced Smith will be returning to First Take on Monday, August 15th.
First Take has been without it’s anchor since the day after the NBA Draft in June. That’s when the ESPN personality took some time off to undergo shoulder surgery and to rehabilitate. However, it appears the wait for his return is almost over.
ESPN announced with a tweet that Smith will be returning to First Take on Monday, August 15th. They also teased a guest appearance from Michael Irvin.
This comes a day after Smith tweeted that the countdown was on for his return and we are one week away from the event.