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