College Football Week 4: ABC’s Saturday Night Football Leads in Prime-Time; ESPN and ABC Combined to Air Two of the Three Highest-Rated Games on Any Network

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College Football Week 4: ABC’s Saturday Night Football Leads in Prime-Time; ESPN and ABC Combined to Air Two of the Three Highest-Rated Games on Any Network

  • Stanford at Oregon: Highest-Rated Pac-12 Conference Game on ESPN/ABC Since 2014 
  • Georgia at Missouri: Cable’s Highest-Rated Afternoon Game This Season and Best Noon Game Since 2016 
  • Saturday’s ESPN Final Game Window Featuring Pac-12 Delivers Year-Over-Year Gains for Third Consecutive Week; Up 33% This Season 
  • ESPN Airs Top Five Games on Cable Including Two Best Games on Friday Night

College football’s week four saw ABC’s Saturday Night Football deliver the highest prime-time rating of any network, as ABC and ESPN combined to air two of the three highest rated games of the week while simultaneously setting multiyear superlative highs.  The week also continued a trend for the season, as ESPN aired the five highest games on cable, including beating its cable competition head-to-head on Friday night and in every game window on Saturday.

ABC’s Saturday Night Football: Stanford at Oregon Delivers Highest-Rated Pac-12 Conference Game Since 2014
ABC’s Saturday Night Football featuring Stanford at Oregon (8 p.m. ET) delivered a 3.0 overnight, the best overnight featuring two Pac-12 teams on ESPN/ABC since Nov. 22, 2014 (64 games, including seven SNF games). The overnight set the pace in primetime, beatings its broadcast competition by 58%.

The Cardinal-Ducks rating peaked at a 4.1 as the Cardinal completed their fourth quarter comeback which resulted in one overtime period (11:15 – 11:45 p.m.)  Among local markets, Portland led the way with a 16.4 local rating. The complete top 10:

Rank Rating Market
1 16.4 Portland, OR
2 5.2 San Francisco
3 5.0 Seattle-Tacoma
4 4.6 Tulsa
5 4.5 Dayton
6 4.3 Los Angeles
7 4.1 Columbus, OH
8 3.9 Birmingham
9 3.8 New Orleans
3.8 Phoenix

Georgia at Missouri: Third Highest-Rated Game of the Day Across All Networks, Cable’s Highest Noon Window Rating Since 2016
ESPN’s telecast of Georgia vs. Missouri (noon)  delivered a 2.3 overnight, the third best overnight of the day across all networks, and both cable’s highest-rated noon window since the 2016 season and cable’s second best Saturday overnight of the 2018 season. The overnight for the Bulldogs victory outpaced the cable competition yesterday by 187% in the same game window.

ESPN Experiences Year-Over-Year Overnight Gains in Saturday Final Window Featuring Pac-12 for Third Consecutive Week; Window Up 33% this Season
ESPN’s telecast of Arizona State at Washington (10:30 p.m.) earned a 1.4 overnight, up 17% from the same window last year and the third consecutive week the network has experience year over year gains in the finale game window of the day. For the season, the window is up 33%. Leading into the Pac-12 showdown, Florida at Tennessee (7 p.m.) delivered a 1.5 overnight, as both games represented the second and third highest-rated cable games of the day. The overnight for the Gators’ victory was up 200% from its cable competition.

Friday Night Ratings Began Weekend Success for ESPN
ESPN’s week 4 success began Friday, as the network aired the two highest games of the night.  Washington State at USC (10:30 p.m.) earned a 1.3 overnight while Florida Atlantic at UCF (1.0) earned a 1.0. Both games were among the top five highest-rated games on cable in week 4 and beat the cable competition that same night by 86% and 43%, respectively.

College GameDay  Up 17% Year-Over-Year in Week 4
College GameDay Built by The Home Depot (9 a.m.-noon) delivered a 1.4 overnight on ESPN and ESPNU for its live, pre-dawn show in Eugene, Oregon, up 17% from last year’s week 4 show.


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.