Last week we didn’t publish a Sunday Morning Rumor Mill due to a complete oversight. It wasn’t intentional. Not at all. No entity out there influenced us to not publish a SMRM. Basically, we forgot. Simple as that.
However an item I was going to publish in the SMRM is that ESPN will be reducing their coverage of UFC in order to not give exposure to their competitor, FOX Sports 1. This was related to a previous item we printed a few weeks ago warning that a media outlet was going to severely cut back on their MMA coverage. There, the rumor has been revealed. Now you can all go to sleep at night.
The Business Insider published an article this morning with a list of current ESPN employees commenting about the launch of FOX Sports 1 on August 17th. The most notable one was ESPN president John Skipper. Here’s his breakdown of FOX Sports 1, and it isn’t that complimentary.
I don’t think they’re going after a different audience. There is no different audience. If you’re interested in sports, you’re watching and consuming ESPN. One hundred and fifty million people every week consume ESPN.
“I think [FS1] is looking to be a point of difference for some of those people. They have a lot of emphasis on UFC in their early broadcasts. That’s a young male audience, I think they’re probably looking for a young male audience. That audience is watching ESPN. I don’t think they’ll be bringing new people into watching sports. So by definition I think they’re looking to siphon off some of our viewers or have our viewers spend more time on sports. And some of both could happen.
The guy has a point, actually. Everyone that is watching sports is already watching sports — which (in America, at least) is ESPN. FOX Sports 1 needs to offer something unique to the viewing audience, which is undoubtedly UFC. However, one event every month or so isn’t going to cut it. FOX Sports 1 literally needs to get UFC to have a weekly event to retain viewership. Besides, why watch UFC on FOX Sports 1 when all the big fights are on PPV? Props to @MattK187 for the find.