Barstool Sports and ESPN have been under the microscope this week thanks to the debut of PFT Commenter and Big Cat’s new Van Talk show on ESPN2 late night that is an extension of their wildly successful Pardon My Take podcast. It’s brought up some of Barstool’s unseemly past when Sam Ponder brought up the things written and said about her by the company over the years and given additional scrutiny to ESPN’s relationship with the upstart company.

As for the show itself, well, it’s far different than anything ESPN has ever aired on its family of networks, which is probably exactly what Bristol is looking for. As for the ratings? The numbers are in and the show drew a .05 overnight rating and 88,000 viewers at its 1 AM ET timeslot.

Now comes the fun part. What does that exactly mean? Ratings and viewership numbers can often be complicated and always come in context, which is why the spin around ratings is the most intense in the sports media industry. (As I can attest from hundreds of calls and e-mails from network PR flaks over the years.)

While five figures sounds like a low number and was down from previous weeks, Barstool wasn’t helped by their lead-in, which was a paltry 61,000 viewers. That means that Van Talk improved on what came before, which is an encouraging sign for them.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, a huge proportion of the audience were in the 18-49 demographic.

As far as those people who wanted to seize on that number to take down Van Talk and Barstool, Clay Travis took a break from his Alex Jones-Breitbart-Alt Right quest to continue his feud with both Barstool and ESPN.

There may be nothing more ironic then going through the mentions of those tweets and seeing his followers criticize “MSESPN” as being overly PC and marketing to social justice warriors for partnering with Barstool Sports. I don’t even know anymore. PFT Commenter, one of the stars of the show, defended the show’s ratings in one tweet.

And then entered into a Twitter back and forth with Travis that poked fun at his own viewership numbers and his getting kicked off a flight because his kid had lice.

This is sports media in 2017.

About Matt Yoder

Award winning sportswriter at The Comeback and Awful Announcing. The biggest cat in the whole wide world.