SEC/Big 12 Challenge: Kansas-Kentucky Game is ESPN’s Most-Watched of the Season

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SEC/Big 12 Challenge: Kansas-Kentucky Game is ESPN’s Most-Watched of the Season

Total Live Audience Up 13% over last year’s overtime thriller
ESPN’s finale of the annual SEC/Big 12 Challenge presented by Sonic – No. 2 Kansas’ 79-73 win at No. 4 Kentucky on Saturday, Jan. 28 – earned a total live audience (TV + streaming) of 3,426,000 viewers, up 13% over last year’s overtime contest (3,042,000 viewers). The game is the most-watched men’s college basketball game this season on an ESPN network and also the most-watched SEC/Big 12 Challenge game since the event started in 2013-14 (40 games).

This year’s SEC/Big 12 Challenge ended in a 5-5 tie, with the Big 12 retaining the trophy after winning the previous three challenges. In 2015-16, the event moved to a common-bye date, during the conference season on the last Saturday of January, from the previous model over multiple days in early December.

Additional information can be found in the overnight ratings release here.

Upcoming Schedule: Journey to the Tourney Games Showcase Top-Ranked Teams
The men’s college basketball schedule is highlighted by three designated Journey to the Tourney games – No. 2 Baylor at No. 3 Kansas on Wednesday, Feb. 1 (ESPN/ESPN3 Surround), No. 20 Notre Dame at No. 12 North Carolina on Saturday, Feb. 4 (ESPN) and No. 8 Kentucky at No. 24 Florida (ESPN) as the Saturday Primetime presented by AT&T matchup and the site of College GameDay Covered by State Farm. The weekly show begins at 11 a.m. ET on ESPN, followed by an evening edition leading into the game telecast at 8 p.m.

This week’s schedule includes 18 Associated Press ranked teams, including the No. 1 Gonzaga at BYU on Thursday, Feb. 2 (ESPN2) and at home against Santa Clara on Saturday (ESPN2). Full Schedule


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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