Larger Audiences Tuning in for ESPN’s Men’s College Basketball as Conference Schedule Heats Up

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Larger Audiences Tuning in for ESPN’s Men’s College Basketball as Conference Schedule Heats Up

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Weekday Franchise Schedule Highlighted by the return of Big Monday; Louisville & Greensboro Top Two Metered Markets

ESPN men’s college basketball game telecasts have posted significant audience growth two months into the 2013-14 season (through January 9). The network has averaged 1,373,000 viewers and a 0.9 US HH rating for increases of 25 percent (vs. 1,097,000) and 13 percent (vs. 0.8) over last season, according to Nielson.

ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU have combined to televise 249 games – the majority being nonconference matchups – averaging 413,000 viewers for a 4 percent increase over the same point last year.

ESPN’s conference-specific weekday franchise programming, showcasing top matchups around notable times, will continue tonight with Big Monday Presented by Verizon. The first game of a doubleheader at 7 p.m. ET will include the debut of the Atlantic Coast Conference (Virginia at No. 23 Duke), followed by the return of a Big 12 matchup at 9 p.m. (No. 15 Kansas at No. 8 Iowa State).

Season’s Top Three Telecasts
ESPN’s most-viewed game of the season – then-No. 2 Michigan State’s win over then-No. 1 Kentucky in the November 12 State Farm Champions Classic – is also the network’s second most-viewed nonconference game ever, averaging 4,002,000 viewers based on a 2.6 US HH rating. The second most-viewed game of the season also from the Champions Classic saw then-No. 5 Kansas upending then-No. 4 Duke averaging 2,977,000 viewers based on a 2.1 US HH rating. The two games are ESPN’s seventh and 33rd most-viewed men’s basketball telecasts all-time, respectively.

ESPN’s third most-viewed game of the season – then-No. 18 North Carolina defeating then-No. 11. Kentucky on December 14 – averaged 2,719,000 viewers based on a 1.7 US HH rating.

Highest-Rated Metered Markets
Louisville, looking for its 12th consecutive year as the highest-rated metered market for ESPN game telecasts, currently leads all competitors with a 5.1 rating. Greensboro and Raleigh-Durham concluded the 2012-13 season second and third, and are trending towards a close finish with a 3.3 (second) and 2.7 (fourth) rating.

Memphis, which finished as the 14th metered market in 2012-13, is currently the third best market this season with a 3.0 rating. Kansas City rounds out the top five with a 2.5 rating.

ESPN Metered Market Ratings (through January 9)

Rank Market DMA Avg Rating
1 Louisville 5.1
2 Greensboro 3.3
3 Memphis 3.0
4 Raleigh-Durham 2.7
5 Kansas City 2.5
6 Cincinnati 2.2
7 Columbus 2.2
Dayton 2.2
9 Indianapolis 2.0
10 Knoxville 1.9
Charlotte 1.9
12 Greenville 1.7
Norfolk 1.7
14 Nashville 1.6
15 Detroit 1.4
Richmond 1.4
17 New Orleans 1.3
Birmingham 1.3
Oklahoma City 1.3
20 Tulsa 1.2
21 Cleveland 1.1
St. Louis 1.1
23 Chicago 1.0
Las Vegas 1.0
Albuquerque 1.0
Baltimore 1.0
Orlando 1.0
Atlanta 1.0



Rachel Margolis Siegal

As part of the College Sports PR team at ESPN, it has been an exciting adventure for me since I joined the worldwide leader in July 2010, working on college football, college basketball, college lacrosse and WNBA properties. I began my love of sports as the manager of several high school sports teams and continued that hobby into college. While at Quinnipiac, I worked in the Sports Information Department, which led me to a summer internship at the New Haven Ravens, a AA baseball team, and an eventual job with the Athletic Communications Department at the University of Connecticut. After my five-year stint at Connecticut, I spent six years as Director of Communications at the BIG EAST Conference in Providence, R.I. before joining ESPN.
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