ESPN’s First Take wrapped July with a double-digit ratings gain over the same month last year, continuing a streak of year-to-year audience growth.
July marked the 12th consecutive month that First Take’s ratings improved over the same period a year earlier. The morning show, hosted by Molly Qerim and with lead panelist Stephen A. Smith, averaged 363,000 daily viewers for the month, a 26 percent gain over July 2022. That’s the largest percentage growth of any month in the current streak.
“First Take continues to innovate and produce results, and this is the latest example of that,” David Roberts, head of event and studio production for ESPN, said in a statement. “It is the place fans turn for authentic reaction to impactful moments and topics in the sports world. Stephen A., Molly and the signature weekly guests connect with fans in a way that is unmatched.”
Said Smith, “This is what we do! We work hard. We work together. All to inform, entertain and provide great television at every opportunity — while achieving success. That’s what it’s all about, and we’re not about to stop.”
During the 12-month run, First Take also posted its best January ratings in its 16-year history (561,000), as well as its best March (452,000) and first quarter (506,000).
“Every day is a wild ride on First Take,” said Qerim. “We all put so much into this show and I’m incredibly grateful for our behind-the-scenes crew, our on-air team and of course the fans. First Take wouldn’t be the same without their support.”
The year-to-year ratings growth streak comes despite ESPN, like most other cable outlets, continuing to lose subscribers. According to Nielsen estimates, ESPN is in about 71.32 million homes as of Aug. 1, down from 74.23 million in December 2022.
Aug. 2, 8: 15 a.m. The subheadline of this story initially misstated the percentage gain for First Take in July. It grew by 26 percent year to year.