ESPN dabbles with live-reaction content on Periscope following the release of the CFP rankings

Daily Newsletter

Mike Golic Jr. and Jason Fitz host #RankingsReactions, which is streamed exclusively on Twitter and Periscope.

ESPN has partnered with Twitter to produce a live-reaction show following the weekly release of the College Football Playoff rankings. (FOS Illustration)

In ESPN’s continuous crusade to attract viewers under the age of 40, they‘ve partnered with Twitter to produce a live-reaction show following the weekly release of the College Football Playoff rankings.

It makes sense why ESPN would create a reaction show to amplify the CFP announcement program each week.

Per a Twitter Marketing report, 72% of TV show ‘superfans’ say Twitter plays a role in their TV viewing experience and 57% use Twitter to engage with TV show hashtags ‘beyond the screen’. Twitter conversation is sure to erupt for something like a rankings reveal, especially when rabid college football fanbases are involved.

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While the second episode featuring Mike Golic Jr. and Jason Fitz was viewed by nearly 500k viewers, the October 31st edition was viewed just over 60k times and last evening’s show is currently hovering just over 80k (as of 1amET on 11/15).

The average viewing time for each episode is not publicly available, however by 10:19pmET, the show was only doing around 550 concurrent viewers.

An ESPN optimist may say one reason for this could be the late start time of the CFP announcement, which aired one hour later than the typical 8pmET start time; however I’m more obliged to say that the Twitter-verse and young sports fans in particular are not quite interested in hearing from Mike Golic Jr. or Jason Fitz.

Another underwhelming stat for the show on the 14th: #RankingsReactions was mentioned 27 times on Tuesday night, 8 of which came from Twitter & ESPN employees or company owned accounts.

I’d imagine those metrics don’t exactly hit the conversation and engagement numbers that Progressive Insurance and 1–800-Flowers (the advertisers read off during the show) want to see.

While this may come off as a hit piece against ESPN and despite the fact that everything the company does brings waves of criticism from industry pundits, the company isn’t in shambles. ESPN is still worth billions, and that dwarfs every other sports network or media company by huge margins. When you’re at the top, you’re going to be scrutinized for your mistakes and misfortunes, you’re going to get picked on.

ESPN will figure out how to navigate the digital world, whether that strategy comes from within the walls of Bristol or via Dumbo, Brooklyn; however until they do, it’s ok to poke a little fun at self-proclaimed ‘Worldwide Leader’.


Russ Wilde Jr. is the President of Front Office Sports & is a Marketing Manager at Thuzio. Russ previously ran Strategy & Operations at Julius, a leading influencer marketing platform, where he was responsible for the company’s competitive research, industry landscape assessment, and platform development.

You can reach him via email at ‘russ@frontofficesports.org’ or DM him on Twitter @RussWildeJr.


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