More Than 5.4 Million Viewers for Ohio State-Indiana as ESPN’s MegaCast Production Continues to Smash Records

College FootballFootball

More Than 5.4 Million Viewers for Ohio State-Indiana as ESPN’s MegaCast Production Continues to Smash Records


  • ESPN’s Largest Viewership for Opening Weekend Thursday Game on Record; Audience More than 13 Times Bigger than that of FS1
  • Ohio State-Indiana is Most-Viewed Telecast across Cable and Broadcast TV; ESPN Wins the Night in Primetime
  • Ohio State-Indiana TV Audience Peaks at Over 6.4 Million Viewers
  • No. 3 Florida State vs. No. 1 Alabama on ABC’s Saturday Night Football Highlights ESPN’s Industry-Leading Kickoff Weekend Schedule

ESPN’s MegaCast production of Ohio State at Indiana (Aug. 31 at 8 p.m. ET) continues to smash records, as the network’s unrivaled, multi-network production delivered a total live audience of 5,428,000 viewers making the Big Ten clash ESPN’s most-watched opening weekend Thursday game on record.  ESPN’s total viewership is an addition to the record overnight rating and stand-alone streaming numbers that were announced this morning. The game, featuring the second-ranked Buckeyes, was the first of 65 games across ESPN’s networks, by far and away the most in the industry, during the five-day kickoff weekend (Aug. 31 – Sept. 4). Throughout Labor Day Weekend, 17 ranked teams will be featured across ESPN’s networks, including the historic matchup between No. 3 Florida State and No. 1 Alabama.

ESPN’s Viewership Leads to Network Winning the Night Across all Cable and Broadcast Networks
The Buckeyes victory was the far and away the most-watched college football game last night and  it was the most-viewed single telecast of the night across all cable and broadcast networks among households, viewers and all key male and adult demos (18-34, 18-49 & 25-54). Additionally, the telecast helped ESPN rank as the most-viewed network in primetime (8 p.m. – 11 p.m.) among households, viewers and all key male and adult demos. Comparing ESPN’s college football TV viewership to FS1’s college football TV audience, ESPN’s viewership was more than 13 times larger on Thursday night.

Additional highlights:

  • Year-Over-Year Growth: Last night’s viewership was an increase of 172% over last year’s opening Thursday game (South Carolina at Vanderbilt).
  • Peak TV Audience: ESPN’s MegaCast TV audience (ESPN and ESPNU) peaked at 6,457,000 viewers as the Hoosiers held a 14-13 lead heading into halftime (9:45-10 p.m.)

ABC’s Saturday Night Football Airs Unprecedented Matchup
For the first time in the sport’s storied history, the preseason’s top team opens the season vs. an opponent ranked in the top 3 when Florida State and Alabama meet on ABC’s Saturday Night Football Presented by Wells Fargo (Sept. 2 at 8 p.m. ET). Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit and Maria Taylor call the first 2017 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game between the Seminoles and Crimson Tide. Tom Rinaldi will join the crew and Taylor on the sidelines for the significant game, which will also be the first college football game in the brand new Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Taylor, who is making her Saturday Night Football debut, will cover the Seminoles, while Rinaldi will cover the Crimson Tide.

Viewership records date back to 1993


ESPN MegaCast Presentation was across ESPN, ESPNU, ESPNEWS and multiple ESPN3 feeds.


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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