Putting ESPN / Get Up Sports Morning Show TV Ratings Dominance in Context

Every weekday, Showbuzz Daily publishes the top 150 shows for the day on cable TV. Most of ESPN's weekday lineup always makes it. On FS1, Undisputed and The Herd almost always make it, and then it's occasional that Speak for Yourself does. However, it's tricky to contextualize these ratings except versus past versions of themselves because we don't often see the full data from FS1, ESPN2, ESPNEWS, NFL Network, and NBCSN. (CBS Sports Network does not subscribe to Nielsen ratings, so nobody can ever see theirs.)

Outkick obtained full sports ratings data from the week of June 15-19, and we are going to build some posts out of what we found. The first interesting discovery is the extent to which Get Up dominates the competition in their morning time slot. Here's what it looked like with Get Up vs. Good Morning Football (NFL Network), First Things First (FS1), PFT Live (NBCSN), and Golic & Wingo (ESPN2 and ESPNEWS). Numbers are in thousands:

Some notes and observations:

1) Obviously, these are not boom times for sports talk TV. There haven't been any meaningful American live team sports for several months, and there won't be for at least another month. On cable, news and sports talk can be substitute products and between coronavirus, racial tensions, and the now-constant reality of President Donald Trump as a lightning rod draws eyeballs to news. There is also evergreen competition from streamers like Netflix plus video games plus social media.

There's a story to be written at some point about how staggering drops have been in sports talk TV viewership over the past decade but especially since 2015.

2) Get Up was not in its exact normal time slot of 8 am to 10 am ET every day because it was often delayed by Korean baseball. I think Get Up could've done even better if it were led into by SportsCenter -- for example, on Friday 6/19 Korean baseball averaged 77,000 viewers -- but it's impossible to know for sure. (A counterargument someone could make here is that perhaps it also got a boost from people flipping to ESPN at 10 am out of habit for the start of First Take.)

3) Get Up (164,000) nearly averaged more viewers than Good Morning Football, First Things First, and PFT Live combined (83,000). While ESPN still wins by a margin of about 2-1 or slightly greater, FS1 generally performs much better in proportion to ESPN with Undisputed and The Herd.

4) Golic & Wingo on ESPN2 beats GMFB, FTF, and PFT Live head to head. The ESPNEWS simulcast is virtually tied with all of them. That's a bit better than I would've expected off the top of my head. As we've reported, Golic & Wingo is coming to an end in the coming months. Keyshawn Johnson is signed to be on ESPN's national morning radio show, and Jalen & Jacoby are candidates to join him.

Disclosure: Outkick's founder Clay Travis is an on-air personality at FS1.


Written by
Ryan Glasspiegel grew up in Connecticut, graduated from University of Wisconsin-Madison, and lives in Chicago. Before OutKick, he wrote for Sports Illustrated and The Big Lead. He enjoys expensive bourbon and cheap beer.