The Super Bowl was supposed to be a big opportunity for Fox Sports 1 to have a "second launch" and introduce itself to the nation as the "fun" alternative for a 24/7 cable sports network. Fox used Super Bowl week to run extensive amounts of on-site coverage of the big game and use other live events to promote the network.
One of the biggest bellwethers for Fox Sports 1 was just how much of the record 112.2 million viewers made the investment to check out postgame coverage on FS1 instead of ESPN. Given Fox's promotion of FS1 during the game, the network should have had high hopes.
In the end, FS Live's ratings were beaten almost 10-1 by ESPN directly after the game.
Post Super Bowl numbers: ESPN's NFL Primetime drew 2.4M from 10:15-11:30; FS1's Fox Sports Live drew 282K from 10:15-midnight.
— John Ourand (@Ourand_SBJ) February 4, 2014
This has to be another in a growing number of ratings disappointments for Fox Sports for their cable network. The 282,000 viewers isn't even close to the record audience for Fox Sports Live to date, 522,000 viewers after an Oregon-Oregon State football game on the network.
Tuning into ESPN is a default option for sports fans and as we've always maintained, it's going to take a generation for Fox or NBC or anyone else to change that. No matter what network the Super Bowl is on, fans are either going to stick around for the sitcom following the game or switch to ESPN. Even NFL Network is ingrained as a solid second postgame option at this point.
However, given Fox had over 110 million people in the palm of their hands, the fact that a microscopic .2% of the audience decided to check out Fox Sports 1 has to be incredibly disconcerting. Clearly, it's going to take highly watched live sporting events on Fox Sports 1 itself to bring any kind of major audience to Fox Sports Live.