ESPN’s College Football Kickoff Weekend: More than 64 Million Fans Tune In, 35% More than the Broadcast and Cable Competition Combined

College FootballFootball

ESPN’s College Football Kickoff Weekend: More than 64 Million Fans Tune In, 35% More than the Broadcast and Cable Competition Combined

  • Six Million Fans Watching College Football on ABC/ESPN’s Networks in the Average Minute on Season’s First Full Saturday
  • ESPN and ABC Both ‘Win-the-Night’ Among All Networks, Finish First in All Key Demos; ESPN Finishes First in Key Men 18-34 Demo Multiple Times
  • ESPN and ABC Combined to Televise Five of the Six Most-Watched Games Across All Networks
  • ESPN Airs Top Five Games on Cable, Seven of the Top Eight
  • ESPN and/or ABC Beat the Competition in Nearly Every Game Window; Both Networks See Year-Over-Year Growth in Prime Time Specials

ESPN’s five-day kickoff week schedule (Aug. 30 – Sept. 3) reached more than 64 million fans, 35% more fans than the broadcast and cable competition combined. Examining it closer, more fans tuned into the four games on ABC than all the other broadcast and cable networks combined. Looking at the season’s first full Saturday, throughout the course of eleven hours of game time (noon-11 p.m. ET), on average, six million fans were tuning into college football on ABC/ESPN’s networks at any given minute.

ABC and ESPN Win the Night Among Competition; Both Networks Score with the Key Demos
Buoyed by their college football success, ABC and ESPN won the night among broadcast and cable networks on Sunday, Sept. 2, and Monday, Sept. 3, respectively. Both networks ranked first in all key demos, including households, viewers, men 18-34, men 18-49, and people 18-34.  ESPN also ranked first in men 18-34 on both Thursday, Aug. 30, and Friday, Aug. 31, among broadcast and cable competition, resulting in ESPN winning the key demographic in three of the five nights.

ESPN and ABC the Leader in Most-Watched Games
The cumulative success of ESPN/ABC is a result of individual game windows, as ESPN and ABC combined to air five of the six most-watched games overall and topped the competition in nearly every game window. On cable, ESPN aired the five most-watched games and seven of top eight.

Miami-LSU Delivers Most-Watched Game, Grows Audience on ABC by 41%
Miami vs LSU (Sept. 2, 7:30 p.m.) delivered a total live audience of 6,647,000 viewers, ABC’s most-watched game of Kickoff Weekend and up 41% from last season’s Sunday night presentation on ABC (West Virginia vs. Virginia Tech). The audience peaked at nearly 8,000,000 viewers late in the first half (9-9:30 p.m.), as the Tigers extended their lead to 27-3.

Virginia Tech-Florida State Showdown Delivers 10% Audience Increase
Virginia Tech at Florida State (Sept. 3, 8 p.m.) delivered a Nielsen total live audience of 5,640,000 viewers on ESPN and ESPNU, an 10% increase from last year’s Labor Day night game on ESPN (Georgia Tech-Tennessee).

ABC the Clear Leader among All Broadcast Networks on Saturday Afternoon; ESPN Beats Broadcast Competition, Too
ESPN and ABC bested the broadcast and cable competition during the Saturday, Sept. 1, late afternoon window and early game window. Washington vs. Auburn (3:30 p.m., ABC) delivered a total live audience of 5,364,000 viewers, beating the broadcast competition by 98% and 465% in the same timeslot.

Leading into the Huskies-Tigers showdown, Oregon State at Ohio State (noon, ABC) drew a total live audience of 3,610,000 viewers and Texas Tech vs. Ole Miss (noon, ESPN) delivered 1,929,000 viewers, the two most-watched games of any network in the timeslot. ABC and ESPN both topped the broadcast competition by 156% and 42%, respectively. Among its cable competition, ESPN was up 51%.

Additional Kickoff Weekend Highlights:

  • ESPN’s Networks Air Most-Watched Games First Two Night of Week 1:
    • Northwestern at Purdue (Aug. 30, 8 p.m., ESPN) drew a Nielsen total live audience of 1,763,000 viewers and UCF at UConn on the same night (7 p.m., ESPNU) earned a Nielsen total live audience 471,000 viewers, the two most-watched games of season’s first Thursday.
    • Western Kentucky at Wisconsin (Aug. 31, 9 p.m., ESPN) drew a Nielsen total live audience 1,426,000 viewers, the most-watched game on the season’s first Friday.
  • ESPN Leads the Way in Saturday’s Final Game Window: BYU at Arizona (10:45 p.m., ESPN) drew a Nielsen total live audience 1,288,000 viewers, the most-watched final game window of the season’s first full Saturday.

-30-

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

Tags

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.
Back to top button
Close