Sunday night’s two-overtime thriller between No. 10 Notre Dame and Texas (7:30 p.m. ET on ABC) earned a massive 7.0 overnight rating, ESPN/ABC’s second highest kickoff weekend overnight on record, including Labor Day night’s games, and the networks’ best kickoff weekend overnight in the last 11 seasons. Additionally, on WatchESPN, the Longhorns’ 50-47 victory stream had an average minute audience of 194,000 for a total of 786,000 unique viewers viewing 49,900,000 minutes overall – all-time highs in each category for a regular season college football game on the product.
ESPN/ABC Kickoff Weekend Success
The Fighting Irish-Longhorns’ overnight surpasses Boise State at Virginia Tech on ESPN from Monday, Sept. 6, 2010 (6.7 overnight) for ESPN/ABC’s second-best kickoff weekend overnight, trailing only Miami at Florida State on ABC from September 5, 2005 (7.2). Also, when factoring in last season’s Ohio State at Virginia Tech Labor Day Night game (6.6 overnight), ESPN/ABC has achieved two of the top 4 kickoff weekend overnights on record in the last two seasons.
Austin Sets Local Market Record
Locally, Austin had a 25.4 overnight rating, the No. 1 market for the game and Austin’s best overnight for an opening weekend game ever on ESPN’s networks.
In addition to Austin, six other markets set local market highs for a kickoff weekend game on ESPN’s networks:
- San Antonio (15.1)
- Dallas (13.1)
- Indianapolis (11.2)
- Albuquerque (7.1)
- San Diego (6.8)
- Philadelphia (6.4)
Overall, the top 10 markets for Notre Dame at Texas:
ESPN/ABC Achieve Top 5 Highest Overnights of College Football Best Kickoff Weekend Ever
Now, as a result, ESPN/ABC have the five highest overnights for college football’s best kickoff weekend ever, with USC-Alabama (4.9 overnight), LSU-Wisconsin (4.9), Oklahoma-Houston (4.0), and Clemson-Auburn (2.8) rounding out the top 5.
*Overnight data exists back to 2004 for ABC and 2001 for ESPN. For ABC, only full national games are available.
College Football’s Best Opening Weekend Concludes with Top Matchup – No. 11 Ole Miss vs. No. 4 Florida State
ESPN will conclude college football’s first week with its annual Labor Day night game, this year with No. 11 Ole Miss vs. No. 4 Florida State (8 p.m.) in the 2016 Camping World Kickoff from Orlando, Fla. It is ESPN’s 13th annual prime-time Labor Day game, having begun in 2002*, and Florida State’s fifth appearance in the game and Ole Miss’ second.
*No game in 2004 due to Hurricane Francis