No matter how you measure it, ESPN’s new morning show Get Up! is off to a poor start as far as ratings are concerned.
The highly touted new show, which garnered increased media attention due to co-host Mike Greenberg’s extended divorce from longtime Mike & Mike partner Mike Golic, debuted on Monday and averaged 283,000 viewers over the course of its three-hour broadcast, which airs from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. According to Sports Business Daily’s John Ourand, that’s down 12 percent from the number of viewers ESPN was drawing with SportsCenter this time last year.
Things then went downhill for ESPN as the week went on. On Tuesday, Get Up! averaged 243,000 viewers for its second show. By Wednesday, it averaged just 198,000 viewers for the first airing.
There were always going to be some challenges for ESPN, especially since the company was entering a market already saturated with popular shows like Today and Fox & Friends. But by far the worst thing that happened from a PR standpoint was Hollywood Reporter releasing the salaries of Greenberg and his co-hosts, Michelle Beadle and Jalen Rose.
According to the report, ESPN pays a combined $14.5 million a year to its three hosts, with Greenberg netting the largest salary at $6.5 million. Add to that the massive costs of leasing and building a 21,000-square-foot studio and office complex in Manhattan’s South Street Seaport and it’s easy to see how drawing fewer than 200,000 viewers each morning could quickly threaten the show’s long-term success.
“The show is less than a week old and the ratings have a chance to grow, but you would’ve assumed more sports fans would’ve at least sampled the debut episode just out of habit of putting on ESPN in the morning,” wrote Sports Illustrated’s Jimmy Traina.
Richard Deitsch, who covers sports media for The Athletic, said ESPN’s major investment meant the the show’s producers have a long runway to tinker with and find a formula that works. But that doesn’t mean the network should be happy with the debut ratings.
“They’ve invested millions in an NYC studio and talent salaries. The show is going to get a chance to see what it is,” Deitsch wrote on Twitter. “But the numbers at the start can’t be spun. They are low.”
Context is always hard on this medium but what will really matter to ESPN execs is six months from now. They’ve invested millions in an NYC studio and talent salaries. The show is going to get a chance to see what it is. But the numbers at the start can’t be spun. They are low. https://t.co/zmow3Ij3he
— Richard Deitsch (@richarddeitsch) April 5, 2018
Of course, Rose didn’t exactly endear himself to Philadelphia viewers Tuesday, when he said Villanova wasn’t a premier basketball program in the country after the team’s crushing 79-62 win in the NCAA championship over his alma mater, Michigan.
“The premiere basketball team in America usually gets McDonald’s All Americans to sign on the dotted line,” Rose said, forgetting that Jalen Brunson was a McDonald’s All American, as is Hudson Catholic High School standout Jahvon Quinerly, who committed to Villanova in February.
“You couldn’t possibly be more wrong,” Greenberg said, correcting Rose. “I love you, and I know you had a tough night, but you could not possibly be more wrong.”
Rose was absent during the show’s big interview Friday with UFC president Dana White, following Conor McGregor’s alleged attack on a bus full of UFC fighters Thursday night. Considering White is by far the biggest interview the show has had in its brief time on air, Rose’s absence was surprising.
Was surprised to see Jalen Rose missing from the set during Dana White's interview on "Get Up!" this morning. pic.twitter.com/PUH6q6uBBD
— Rob Tornoe (@RobTornoe) April 6, 2018
NBC Sports Philly sees record streaming numbers
A scheduling quirk presented a problem Tuesday for NBC Sports Philadelphia, with the Phillies, Sixers and Flyers all playing at 7 p.m.
The sports network decided to broadcast the fourth-place Sixers’ 121-95 win over the Nets on NBC Sports Philadelphia, while it aired the playoff-hopeful Flyers’ 5-4 loss to the Islanders on NBC Sports Philadelphia+. The Phillies’ 2-0 loss to the Mets was only available to watch on NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com and on the NBC Sports App, which are only available to cable subscribers within the Philadelphia media market.
Not surprisingly, the Phillies proved to be a huge digital draw, helping the network set a new single-day streaming record across all NBC Sports Regional Networks. According to NBC Sports Philadelphia, more than 3.4 million minutes were streamed on 56,000 unique devices across all three games, with 15,000 devices streaming multiple games. The Phillies game drew the biggest share of the interest, accounting for two million streaming minutes across nearly 36,000 devices.
So far, MLB hasn’t released any ratings information for Wednesday’s Facebook-exclusive broadcast of the Phillies’ 4-2 loss to the Mets, which was greeted with mixed reviews by fans in and out of Philadelphia.
New Thursday Night Football crew appears to be coming together
Eagles fans who have grown to hate FOX Sports’ top NFL broadcast team of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman might not want to read any further.
After the network was unsuccessful in its attempts to pull a Tony Romo and woo former Colts and Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning to the booth, FOX Sports appears to have settled on having Buck and Aikman call its 10 Thursday Night Football games this season, with Erin Andrews handing sideline reporting duties.
According to the New York Post’s Andrew Marchand, the negotiation process is in the beginning stages, but considering FOX paid $3.3 billion for the rights to the often-mocked but highly-rated sport franchise for the next five years, having their A-team calling games makes a lot of sense. Though there’s no official timeline for an announcement, FOX will likely have a team in place prior to advertising upfronts at the end of May.
As far as a pre-game show, Sports Illustrated reports that the network plans a scaled down version of it’s regular FOX NFL Sunday show from New York City, with Good Morning America co-host Michael Strahan pulling hosting duties. Strahan would be joined by Howie Long and Terry Bradshaw, but neither Jimmy Johnson nor Curt Menefee is expected to join the new Thursday night broadcast.