Notre Dame at Texas: Most-Watched Kickoff Weekend Game On Record Across All Networks

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Notre Dame at Texas: Most-Watched Kickoff Weekend Game On Record Across All Networks

  • Total Live Audience Measurement of 11,093,000 Average Viewers
  • Record-Setting Game for ABC and ESPN Streaming
  • Last Two Years Has Delivered ESPN/ABC’s Two Biggest Kickoff Weekend Total Live Audiences

Sunday night’s two-overtime thriller between No. 10 Notre Dame and Texas (7:30 p.m. on ABC) delivered a total live audience measurement (TV + Streaming) of 11,093,000 average viewers, the most-watched college football kickoff weekend game on record across all networks*.

For ESPN/ABC, the Fighting Irish-Longhorns’ total live audience measurement is a 3% increase over last season’s Labor Day Night game between Ohio State and Virginia Tech on September 7, 2015. The Buckeyes-Hokies game previously held the sport’s opening weekend best total live audience with 10,760,000 average viewers.

ABC and ESPN Streaming Set Individual Records
The Notre Dame-Texas audience of 10,899,000 average viewers on ABC represents the largest TV audience for an opening weekend game on record across all networks.

For ESPN/ABC, the Longhorns’ 50-47 victory TV audience, once again, tops last season’s Labor Day Night game between the Buckeyes and Hokies (10,585,000 average viewers), which previously held the highest television viewership for kickoff weekend.

As documented in this morning’s release, the streaming audience for the Longhorns’ 50-47 victory set new ESPN records for a regular season college football game, with an average minute audience of 194,000 and a total of 786,000 unique viewers viewing 49,900,000 minutes overall.

Late Game Drama Peaks Viewership
Last night’s ABC audience peaked at 13,522,000 average viewers between 11 p.m. – 11:30 p.m. ET as the fourth quarter came to a conclusion and overtime began.

*Records date back to 1990 for ESPN and 1996 for ABC. Competitive networks include CBS, Fox, FS1, FX, NBCSN and TBS. Data goes back as far to 1996 with CBS. TV data based on Fast Nationals.

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


Media contact: Derek Volner at 860-384-9986; [email protected] and @DerekVolner

Derek Volner

I currently lead ESPN’s NFL Communications, including Monday Night Football, NFL Draft and studio programming. Previously, I did the same for ESPN’s vast college football portfolio. I have been with ESPN since 2013.
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