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ESPN PR Wants You to Know Its Ratings Are Just Fine

This summer, Fox apparently realized that Americans really like to watch sports.

Well, they did launch Fox Sports 1 on August 17, almost exactly a month after media watchers began discussing ESPN‘s 32% ratings drop. The idea was that, now that ESPN’s domination of the American sports market appeared to be receding, upstarts like FS1 could fill in the blanks.

ESPN’s PR team isn’t having any of that. In July they aggressively followed ratings reports by explaining that the decline was all due to a shorter NBA season (31 fewer games). We’re not sure exactly how accurate that claim is, but the team doesn’t plan to let Fox capture any good publicity: yesterday the network posted and distributed a press release noting that viewership has risen 13% since August 17—the very day that Fox Sports 1 made its debut. Subtle? We think not.

The rest of the release is mostly statistics, but the message is clear: we see you, but you’re never going to catch us.

In other Misleading Press Releases news, Fox’s news network announced its new prime-time lineup with a release touting its status as “the most trusted television news source in the country”. This might be all well and good, but the Fox PR team neglected to mention that it’s also the least trusted news source and that distrust ratings are higher than trust ratings among the general public. So the world keeps on spinning…

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