Mike Francesa

Mike Francesa has frequently sniped about his relationship with Fox Sports 1 since premiering on the channel (as well as Fox Sports 2) on March 24th. The network will often pre-empt the Sports Pope for UEFA Champions League soccer, Europa League and NASCAR practice. He went on a brief rant about the treatment today (via Tim Burke).

How did Francesa enter into this partnership not knowing what he’d be getting into? Is he so blind to the popularity of European soccer in this country that he assumed the network and the American public would just treat him as a savior of their afternoons? Does he think he’s somehow above live sporting events?

The fact is that, no, Francesa is not above live sporting events. Let’s look at the numbers for the most recent full week we have ratings available for, along with some selective other afternoons. We’ll give you ratings from a week when Francesa was on four days out of five, and a couple of events this week, mostly via the excellent Son of the Bronx.

Monday, April 14

1 p.m. ET, The Mike Francesa Show: 13,000 viewers

Tuesday, April 15

1 p.m. ET, The Mike Francesa Show: 24,000 viewers

Wednesday, April 16

1 p.m. ET, Monster Energy Supercross: 25,000 viewers

Thursday, April 17

1 p.m. ET, The Mike Francesa Show: 13,000 viewers

Friday, April 18

1 p.m. ET, The Mike Francesa Show: 26,000 viewers

Monday, April 28

1 p.m. ET, The Mike Francesa Show: 34,000 viewers

Tuesday, April 29

2 p.m. ET, Adam Silver press conference: 107,000 viewers
2:30 p.m. ET, UEFA Champions League – Bayern Munich-Real Madrid: 557,000 viewers

Not only is Francesa getting absolutely trampled by European soccer (which likely makes both him and his fan base furious), as well as big events like the Donald Sterling press conference, but the network drew about the same audience showing reruns of motocross races!  FS1 drew 16 times the audience for Champions League soccer as it did for Mike Francesa the day before.

Personally, I think Mike is better on a channel that is New York-specific and not national (i.e. MSG), but it should be fun to see how they work this out over the next few months. Francesa clearly isn’t happy about being pre-empted by soccer and other live events, but what else is Fox supposed to do? It would be suicidal as a network to bow down to the sports pope’s demands over live events that draw 10-20 times the audience.

It’s safe to say the relationship between Fox and Francesa is getting rocky at the moment, time will tell if it ultimately crumbles.

About Steve Lepore

Steve Lepore is a writer for Bloguin and a correspondent for SiriusXM NHL Network Radio.

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