- First Game of Doubleheader – Michigan State-Arizona ties for Third-Highest Rating
- Streaming Numbers Double Last Year’s Classic
- ESPN’s Men’s College Basketball Action Continues with Champions Classic Tuesday
ESPN’s Armed Forces Classic – a doubleheader for the first time in its five-year history – earned its single-game, highest rating with No. 11 Indiana’s 103-99 overtime, upset-win against No. 3 Kansas on opening night of the college basketball season – averaging a 0.9 overnight rating. The first game of the doubleheader – No. 10 Arizona’s 65-63 thrilling victory against No. 12 Michigan State – tied for the annual event’s third best overnight with a 0.7 rating with Louisville’s win over Minnesota in the 2014 Classic.
Streaming continues to grow at ESPN, evident with Friday night coverage of the Armed Forces Classic, more than doubling the previous events. The Indiana-Kansas overtime win had an average minute audience of 48,000 viewers, up 220 percent year over year. The first game of the doubleheader, showcasing Arizona’s win over Michigan State, saw a 140 percent increase with an average minute audience of 36,000 viewers.
The 2016 Armed Forces Classic – originated from the Stan Sheriff Center on the campus of the University of Hawaii in Honolulu with surrounding events at the U.S. Navy Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam – was played on Veterans Day, November 11, just under a month from the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.
The Armed Forces Classic is owned and operated by ESPN Events, a division of ESPN. The annual event is scheduled to continue for the foreseeable future with the 2017 event returning to Ramstein Air Base in Germany, featuring Texas A&M against West Virginia.
Armed Forces Classic Top-10 Metered Markets
Indianapolis, Kansas City and Louisville were among the top metered markets for both games of the Armed Forces doubleheader:
- Kansas City was the highest-rated market for Arizona’s win over Michigan State with a 2.9 rating followed by Indianapolis (2.8), Detroit (2.5), Dayton (1.8), Louisville (1.7) and Phoenix (1.6).
- Indianapolis was the highest-rated market for Indiana’s overtime, upset-win over Kansas with a 7.4 rating followed by Kansas City (7.3), Louisville (4.5), Raleigh-Durham (1.6). Richmond (1.3) and Seattle (1.3).
Men’s College Basketball: Blockbuster Doubleheader, Champions Classic on ESPN Tuesday
Michigan State and Kansas now travel to take part in ESPN’s premier early-season college basketball event showcasing four of the all-time winningest programs for the sixth straight year in the State Farm Champions Classic on Tuesday, Nov. 15. The neutral-site blockbuster doubleheader – staged from Madison Square Garden in New York City – pits No. 2 Kentucky vs. No. 13 Michigan State at 7 p.m. and No. 1 Duke vs. No. 7 Kansas at 9:30 p.m. – all on ESPN.
- Dan Shulman, along with reporter Maria Taylor, will be on the call of both games, with analyst Dick Vitale working game 1 and Jay Bilason game 2.
- College GameDay Covered by State Farm will be live from Madison Square Garden floor surrounding Champions Classic with host Rece Davis, Bilas, Jay Williams and Seth Greenberg
- For the second straight year, ESPN will exclusively reveal the College Football Playoff weekly rankings on College Football Playoff: Top 25 between the Champions Classic games – from inside MSG with host Davis and analysts Joey Galloway, Kirk Herbstreit and David Pollack onsite.