2016 Champions Classic: Duke-Kansas Sees Total Live Audience Grow, Sets New Men’s College Basketball Streaming Record

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2016 Champions Classic: Duke-Kansas Sees Total Live Audience Grow, Sets New Men’s College Basketball Streaming Record

Kentucky-Michigan State Becomes a Top 5 Men’s College Basketball Streamed Game Ever;
Action Continues During Feast Week Presented by Lowe’s

No. 7 Kansas’ 77-75 upset-win over top-ranked Duke during the second game of ESPN’s annual State Farm Champions Classic on Tuesday, Nov. 15 earned a total live audience (TV+ streaming) of 2,444,000 viewers, up 28 percent from last year’s Kansas vs. Michigan State game (1,906,000 viewers). The streaming audience of 83,000 average minute viewers is ESPN’s most streamed men’s college basketball game ever, topping last year’s Kentucky vs. Duke Champions Classic game (78,000 viewers).

The first game of the doubleheader, No. 2 Kentucky’s 68-49 win over No. 13 Michigan State saw total live audience of 2,150,000 viewers, including a streaming audience of 67,000 average viewers – a top five men’s regular season streaming audience ever for ESPN. The two Champions Classic games combined had a streaming average minute audience of 76,000 viewers, up 21 percent over the 2015 event.

The Champions Classic is owned and operated by ESPN Events, a division of ESPN, and recently signed a three-year extension to play the event through 2019.

ESPN Unveiled College Football Playoff: Top 25 Live from New York
In between the Champions Classic doubleheader, the latest edition of the College Football Playoff committee rankings were exclusively unveiled on College Football Playoff: Top 25 (approx. 9 p.m.). The 30-minute special earned a total live audience of 2,726,000 viewers.

Champions Classic Top-10 Metered Markets
Seven markets were among the top-10 highest rated markets for both games of the Champions Classic doubleheader: Cincinnati, Dayton, Indianapolis, Greenville-Spartanburg, Kansas City, Louisville, Raleigh-Durham.

  • Louisville led all markets for coverage of Kentucky’s win over Michigan State with a 14.9 rating followed by Cincinnati (5.2), Kansas City (3.6), Dayton (3.5), Indianapolis (3.5), Detroit (3.1), Nashville (3.0), Greenville-Spartanburg (2.8), Raleigh-Durham (2.8) and Knoxville (2.5).
  • Kansas City was the highest-rated market for Kansas’ win over Duke with a 9.4 rating followed by Louisville (7.0), Greensboro (5.5), Raleigh-Durham (4.8). Charlotte (3.9), Greenville-Spartanburg (3.6), Dayton (3.3), Indianapolis (3.2), Cincinnati (2.9) and Norfolk (2.8).

Solid Rating Start to the Season
The second game of ESPN’s Armed Forces Classic doubleheader – No. 11 Indiana’s 103-99 overtime, upset-win against No. 3 Kansas on college basketball’s opening night – is the most-watched game in the five-year history of the event with a total live audience (TV + streaming) of 1,592,000 viewers. The first game of the doubleheader – No. 10 Arizona’s 65-63 thrilling victory against No. 12 Michigan State – is now the third-most watched with a total live audience of 1,222,000 viewers behind the inaugural Armed Forces Classic in 2012 featuring UConn’s upset over Michigan State (1,290,000 viewers). Full Release

Men’s College Basketball: Early-Season Tournaments Tip-Off
ESPN’s men’s basketball schedule for Feast Week presented by Lowe’s is highlighted by several tournaments beginning Thursday, Nov. 17, and continuing through the Thanksgiving holiday weekend: Tire Pros Invitational, Gildan Charleston Classic, Legends Classic, 2K Classic, Hall of Fame Tip Off Classic, Maui Jim Maui Invitational and CBE Hall of Fame Classic. Ranked teams in action include: No. 1 Duke, No. 2 Kentucky, No. 3 Villanova, No. 4 Oregon, No. 5 North Carolina, No. 7 Kansas, No. 8 Virginia, No. 9 Wisconsin, No. 11 Xavier, No. 21 Rhode Island, No. 23 Texas and No. 24 Cincinnati. Full Schedule (Friday-Tuesday)

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Rachel Margolis Siegal

A part of the Internal Communications team at ESPN, I began with the network in 2010 as part of the College Sports PR team. Always an avid sports fan and not an athlete – I grew up a huge fan of the Hartford Whalers, while also watching my brother compete at different levels. I became 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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