The Pat McAfee Show, Roger Goodell, ESPN Screen grab: The Pat McAfee Show

A day after an article negatively compared The Pat McAfee Show‘s linear television viewership to that of SportsCenter, ESPN sent out a release touting the show’s multi-platform viewership.

Per the releaseThe Pat McAfee Show averaged 886,000 viewers across ESPN, YouTube, and TikTok in December, a 35% increase from the noon-2 p.m. window in 2022.

On Thursday, Andrew Marchand of the New York Post wrote an article comparing the linear viewership of McAfee’s show to its First Take lead-in (which experienced a record year in 2023) and the editions of SportsCenter airing in the window last year. McAfee responded on Friday by accusing ESPN executive Norby Williamson, who he labeled “a rat,” of leaking information to Marchand that painted the show in a negative light.

ESPN’s release continues, noting that the show’s viewership on linear TV increased by 20% from September to December. The December audience for the show was 332,000 on ESPN proper along with another 403,000 on YouTube.

Continuing comparisons from September to December, the release mentions The Pat McAfee Show‘s audience between ESPN and YouTube increased from 570,000 to 735,000 viewers, with the average minutes watched per viewer also increasing from 44.5 minutes to 55.5 minutes.

As it did when discussing First Take‘s viewership earlier this week, ESPN also brought attention to The Pat McAfee Show‘s success on social media. The release says that clips and segments from the show totaled 298 million views in December, with an average reach of 1.7 million per show.

The data rolled out on Friday by ESPN shows why looking solely at linear TV viewership for The Pat McAfee Show is a fool’s errand. I did it back in October, and quickly realized that the sheer amount of views McAfee content was racking up on social media each show was more than making up for the ho-hum viewership on linear. That’s a spike that ESPN simply wouldn’t get for a show like SportsCenter, and while the venerable brand might attract more casual viewership, it simply cannot draw a rabidly devoted audience like McAfee’s show does.


About Joe Lucia

I hate your favorite team. I also sort of hate most of my favorite teams.