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The anatomy of First Things First - the BEST sports talk show

The Fox Sports Show, First Things First, is the best sports talk show this side of the Mississippi. I’ve been a fan of the show since their first iteration (only one of the original members is still on the show). But it’s improved by leaps in bounds over the past three (or so) years. 


For example, whenever I put on a YouTube clip from their show, Peanut drops everything she’s doing to listen. No, it’s not because she’s a sports fan. She kinda hates sports. It’s because the chemistry between the show’s co-hosts (Nick Wright, Chris Broussard, and Kevin Wildes) is unmatched. And thanks to this chemistry, Peanut knows she’ll laugh (even if she isn’t hip to what’s going on in the sports world). 


And you know what? 


There are several lessons you can take from this show’s success—which, by the way, continues to have better numbers even as most TV talk shows are dying because of YouTube and podcasting—and apply to your business and your content creation. 


Here are a few reasons why First Things First dominates the ratings:


1. They lean into their personality 


Kevin Wildes is a goofball who can occasionally have a good sports take. Nick Wright is an annoying Chiefs fan (I can’t stand him during football season) and an annoying LeBron fan (which I can tolerate because I agree with him that LeBron’s the goat). And Chris Broussard is the elder statesman of the show with so much lore about where he lived that he can claim almost any professional team by saying he lived in their city. 


But each and every one of them can also be downright hilarious. Especially the trio of them together. They play off each other’s energy well. And when they’re not getting deep in discussion about X’s and O’s, they have gimmicks galore. 


Which leads me into my next reason… 


2. Gimmicks galore


The gimmicks they’ve started to do are fairly new, and they slap. For example, when certain teams win (or lose), they drop banners on the show. During football season, Broussard kept saying the Miami Dolphins weren’t a serious team and that they reminded him of breakdancers. And so, whenever Dolphin discussions popped up on the show, they brought in actual breakdancers. 


Nick did a similar thing with Trevor Lawrence, who he has nicknamed The Prince That Was Promised. As such, whenever Jaguar discussions were brought up on the show, they hired royal trumpeters. 


Wildes recently introduced a “gentleman” vibe based on an NBA team winning in five games in the playoffs (which is called a gentleman’s sweep). Whenever a team completes the gentleman’s sweep (or is close to completing it), he’ll add some smooth jazz behind him, dim the lights, and talk in a gentleman’s laid back, yet slick tone. 


And I could go on and on with all the various gimmicks they do on their show that adds another layer to their show and makes their audience want to tune in every day. 


3. They create their own lore. 


Having lore not only helps you make more, but it beheads your competition, makes it impossible to copy you, and creates a raging fan base. 


Watching First Things First is a masterclass in creating lore. We’ve already mentioned how Broussard can claim almost any professional sports team because he lived in various cities during his childhood. 


But they also create slang, which feeds into their lore. 


They use acronyms and slang like SBOB, Astocks, and more, which they never explain anymore, but use several times throughout the course of the show. 


And, of course, the lore finds its way into the gimmicks and other parts that make this show work. 

Speaking of lore… 


4. They’ve created their own “The Office” mini-series. 


This show, since it’s so beloved, has become a prime target for bootleggers. In fact, there’s one guy on YouTube with half a million views because he uploads segments from the show to his YouTube channel almost instantly. 


This made it easier to watch this show in the past. It comes on at 3 pm, which means I can almost never watch it live. But thanks to the bootlegger, I was always able to watch it whenever it was convenient for me. 


But this presented a problem for First Things First: They weren’t getting the views they deserved because someone would steal nearly all their YouTube views. 


Instead of harassing and copy striking the guy (which I’m sure they did too, but the bootlegger was like Hydra, where chopping off one “head” only made more pop up), they got creative, fed into the lore, and gave their YouTube audience exclusive content that couldn’t be bootlegged (because this stuff only appears on YouTube). 


Their solution? 

Create an “Office” style spinoff that takes viewers behind the scenes, makes them laugh, and increases their loyalty to the official YouTube channel. 


This isn’t the only mini-series they’ve created for YouTube… 


5. They also do their own post-game interviews after their show. 


These typically become YouTube Shorts. But if you’re unfamiliar with the world of sports, after every game, a few members from the team have a presser where they talk to local media. 


Well, First Things First spoofed this idea, creating more ways for fans to engage with them, watch their content, laugh, and become more loyal fans. 


And last but not least… 


6. They mix good sports analysis with humor and entertainment in a way no sports show has ever done. 


This last reason is an accumulation of all the previous reasons. 


They can inform the audience while also making them laugh. They have hot (and cold) sports takes mixed with gimmicks, lore, slang, humor, and more. 


And you know what? 


You can do all of the above with your content too. 


It won’t be easy. 


It will take a lot of work and thinking. 


But it’s possible. 


Anywho:


If you need help building your email strategy around some of these reasons (as well as others that make your piggy bank fatter), hit reply, and let's chat. 


John

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