In a world where spinning numbers is the norm in sports television, Fox’s attempt to crow about Undisputed is taking a rather interesting turn. It’s a fact that Undisputed is doing well for FS1 relatively speaking.

And because Undisputed was cutting into First Take’s numbers on ESPN2, it was why ESPN moved First Take to the Mothership while SportsCenter’s 10 and 11 a.m. editions were banished to ESPN2.

Fox said Undisputed averaged 122,000 on FS1 from 10 a.m. – noon ET last Thursday while SportsCenter on ESPN2 had 121,000 viewers in the same time period. Fox said it was the first time ever the show had ever beaten SportsCenter head-to-head while not noting it had moved.

What the press release doesn’t say is that on the same day in the same time slot, First Take on ESPN outdistanced both programs with 530,000 viewers, up 12% from last year’s 473,000 on the same date.

It’s interesting that Fox is comparing Undisputed’s numbers to SportsCenter rather than First Take. The fact that Fox has taken that comparison instead of First Take shows that it wants to claim victories anyhow and anywhere.

In its first three days on ESPN, First Take averaged 647,000, 478,000 and 530,000 respectively. In its press release, Fox selected January 2 for its other sample for Undisputed which averaged 196,000 viewers, what it said was “its best live numbers to-date.”

Taking selected days to prove an argument happens in television all of the time. Just watch First Take and Undisputed and you’ll see. Fox’s boasting about beating SportsCenter while not even acknowledging First Take is one of the more interesting pieces of PR we’ve witnessed here at Awful Announcing and we’ve received plenty of press releases.

There might be a day where Undisputed overtakes First Take and you can rest assured that Fox will issue a press release boasting of the fact, but for now, the network is claiming victory anyway it can.

[Fox Sports/Sports TV Ratings]

About Ken Fang

Ken has been covering the sports media in earnest at his own site, Fang's Bites since May 2007 and at Awful Announcing since March 2013.

He provides a unique perspective having been an award-winning radio news reporter in Providence and having worked in local television.

Fang celebrates the four Boston Red Sox World Championships in the 21st Century, but continues to be a long-suffering Cleveland Browns fan.

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