College Football Week 9: ESPN Grows Audience by 50% Year-Over-Year on Saturday, Sets Season High for Late Afternoon Cable Viewership

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College Football Week 9: ESPN Grows Audience by 50% Year-Over-Year on Saturday, Sets Season High for Late Afternoon Cable Viewership

  • ESPN/ABC Air Three of the Four Most-Watched Games of the Week
  • ABC’s Saturday Night Football Leads the Way in Primetime; ESPN Beats Broadcast Competition in Noon ET Window

ESPN’s audience spiked throughout the Saturday of college football’s week 9, as the network generated a 50% year-over-year audience increase for its quadruple header, while also setting a new season high cable audience in the late afternoon game window. The audience success continued over on ABC, as the network aired the most-watched primetime game and the most-watched noon ET game. Together, the two networks aired three of the four most-watched games of the week across all networks.

Iowa at Penn State is Cable’s Most-Watched Late Afternoon Game this Season
ESPN’s successful Saturday was best evidenced in the afternoon as Iowa at Penn State (3:30 p.m. ET) generated cable’s largest audience for a late afternoon kickoff this season with a Nielsen total live audience of 3,267,000 viewers. The audience was up an impressive 188% over the similar game window last season.

ABC and ESPN Air Most-Watched Noon ET Games on Any Network
ESPN and ABC’s Saturday success started early, as the two networks combined to air the two most-watched noon ET kickoff games on any network, led by ABC’s telecast of Clemson at Florida State (noon). The audience for the Tigers’ victory generated a total live audience of 3,163,000 viewers, while ESPN’s airing of Purdue at Michigan State delivered a Nielsen total live audience of 2,378,000 viewers. The audience for the Spartans’ victory was also up 22% year-over-year compared to the similar game window last season.

ABC/ESPN Lead in Primetime for Eighth Straight Week; ESPN Grows Primetime Audience by More than 30%
ABC continued to lead the way in primetime, as Saturday Night Football featuring Texas at Oklahoma State (8 p.m.) generated a total live audience of 3,547,000 viewers, marking the eighth consecutive week that ESPN/ABC aired the most-watched game in primetime on any network. ESPN sustained the network’s year-over-year growth in primetime, as Texas A&M at Mississippi State (7 p.m.) generated a Nielsen total live audience of 2,178,000 viewers, up 32% from the similar game window last year.

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

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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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