The ratings for “The 2020 ESPYs” are in, and they’re woeful, especially considering sports fans have been starved for content for more than three months.
This year’s ESPN awards show centered mostly on social issues, not sports, and could signal what fans can expect when the major sports return after being sidelined by the coronavirus pandemic.
The all-virtual show Sunday attracted a mere 482,000 viewers on ESPN and ESPN2, according to Sports Media Watch.
That’s bad enough to make it the lowest-rated ESPYs show in the network’s history, dating back to 1995.
The pitiful viewership is an 88 percent decrease from the 2019 ESPYs, when 3.87 million people tuned in.
Apparently few sports fans want to be lectured with leftist platitudes about politics, racial injustice and other issues, which is what those who refrained from tuning in missed out on.
The purported sports award show was chock full of preaching about the Black Lives Matter movement and “white privilege” and praise for former NFL quarterback and national anthem protester Colin Kaepernick.
The network was roundly criticized online for its pivot away from sports and toward social commentary.
Push your agenda on someone else…
— Jonathan Roberson (@JRob_YP) June 22, 2020
Is there any form of entertainment left that isn’t inundated with politics and social issues?
— Mike Milly (@realmikemilly) June 22, 2020
I’m done with Professional Sports! It used to be a recreational place we could go to get away from all the politics and division. Not anymore!
— Keith Harrison (@pastorrkh) June 22, 2020
Sports Media Watch noted that ESPYs ratings peaked in 2015 with 7.75 million viewers and have declined each year since.
The 2015 awards, for context, saw ESPN honor Caitlyn Jenner with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award for coming out as transgender.
The show has become a sports version of the Oscars, where Hollywood liberals spend hours annually castigating ordinary Americans about social issues.
With many people still at home because of the coronavirus shutdowns, Americans are hungry for sports. In a time of strife and division, they can offer an escape and bring people of different backgrounds together.
Consider the ratings for ESPN’s recent documentary series about the Michael Jordan-era Chicago Bulls, and you’ll notice a striking difference from the ESPYs numbers.
The documentary chronicled Jordan’s behind-the-scenes quest for basketball greatness without being drenched in leftist social commentary — and it was a smashing success.
The harsh reality for ESPN is that few people want to tune in just to be hectored about skin color and flooded with anti-police rhetoric.
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