Michigan at Ohio State: Total Live Audience of 16,926,000 Viewers, By Far Most-Watched College Football Game This Season across all Networks

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Michigan at Ohio State: Total Live Audience of 16,926,000 Viewers, By Far Most-Watched College Football Game This Season across all Networks

  • New Record: Most-Watched College Football Noon ET Kickoff across all Networks on Record
  • One of College Football’s Most-Watched Regular Season Games: Second Most-Viewed ABC Game and a Top 5 Contest across all Networks on Record
  • Overtime Peaks Audience: More Than 20,200,000 Viewers

Michigan at Ohio State (noon ET on ABC) delivered a total live audience (TV + streaming) of 16,926,000 viewers, making it by far the most-watched college football game this season across all networks. The double-overtime thriller also set new records for its game window and ranks among the most-watched regular season college football games on record, for both ABC and across all networks.

Most-Watched College Football Noon Kickoff and Top 5 Most-Viewed Game Across All Networks
ABC’s TV audience of 16,647,000 viewers is the most watched college football regular season noon ET kickoff across all networks on record and ABC’s second most-viewed game out of 791 game windows, dating back to 1991. Also, the viewership for the Ohio State victory ranks among the top 5 most-watched regular season games across all networks – which includes conference championship games – on record.

For ABC, it is the most-watched game in more than 10 years when the network aired the 2006 Michigan-Ohio State game which remains the most-watched regular season game the network has ever televised (21,037,000 viewers). At the time of that game, Michigan ranked No. 2 and Ohio State No. 1 in the country and it kicked off at 3:30 p.m. ET.

ESPN’s Streaming Sets New Regular Season Records in Multiple Categories
ESPN’s stream garnered 279,000 viewers in the average minute with a total of 1,273,000 unique viewers watching 69,661,000 minutes, ESPN’s most-streamed regular season college football game ever in all three metrics.

Michigan-Ohio State becomes ESPN’s first regular season game to surpass one million unique users and 60 million minutes watched. The impressive average minute audience is the third for ESPN to surpass an average minute audience of 200,000 viewers for a college football game, joining this season’s Ole Miss at Florida State (231,000 viewers) and Louisville at Clemson (200,000 viewers).

ABC/ESPN Sets Pace for Top College Football TV Viewership of the 2016 Season
ABC has televised the two most watched college football games this season and four of the top 5. Combined with ESPN, the two networks have aired 7 of the top 10.

Rank TV Viewership Game Date Network
1 16,647,000 Michigan at Ohio State Nov. 26, 2016 ABC
2 10,945,000 Notre Dame at Texas Sept. 4, 2016 ABC
3 10,385,000 Alabama at LSU Nov. 5, 2016 CBS
4 9,286,000 Louisville at Clemson Oct. 1, 2016 ABC
5 8,964,000 Ohio State at Wisconsin Oct. 15, 2016 ABC
6 8,455,000 Texas A&M at Alabama Oct. 22, 2016 CBS
7 8,354,000 Ole Miss vs. Florida State Sept. 5, 2016 ESPN
8 8,169,000 Alabama at Ole Miss Sept. 17, 2016 CBS
9 7,944,000 USC vs. Alabama Sept. 3, 2016 ABC
10 7,832,000 LSU vs. Wisconsin Sept. 3, 2016 ABC

Please note: Only college football viewership in for week 13 is Michigan at Ohio State, across all networks. Additional information will available later this week.

Additional Wolverine-Buckeye Highlights:

  • Significant Audience Growth: The total live audience was up 55% from last year’s Ohio State at Michigan game (November 28, 2015 at noon on ABC) which earned a total live audience of 10,948,000 viewers.
  • Peak Audience: ABC’s audience peaked at 20,262,000 viewers as the Buckeyes-Wolverines battled in overtime (3:30 p.m. – 4 p.m.).
  • Local Markets: Columbus was the No. 1 market with 43.6 local rating, followed by Dayton (36.8) and Detroit (30.8). The local rating in Detroit is second highest ever for a regular season college football game on any ESPN network. The complete top 10 markets:
Rank Market Local Rating
1 Columbus 43.6
2 Dayton 36.8
3 Detroit 30.8
4 Cleveland 30.1
5 Cincinnati 20.5
6 Ft. Myers 16.9
7 Birmingham 16.7
8 Oklahoma City 14.1
9 Knoxville 13.2
West Palm Beach 13.2

Watch Again On ESPNU and WatchESPN
ESPNU will reair Saturday’s Wolverine- Buckeye game on Monday, Nov. 28, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.  and Tuesday, Nov. 29, from 3 a.m. to 6 a.m. Game is available on demand via WatchESPN here.

*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.


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

Derek Volner

I work in college sports, which includes football and basketball, with an emphasis on Olympic Sports. Additionally, I handle ESPN’s coverage of high school athletics and recruiting.
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