ABC Airs College Football’s Highest-Rated Games of the Week and Ranks at the Top in Noon, Late Afternoon and Primetime Game Windows; ESPN Up Year-Over-Year in Every Game Window

College Football

ABC Airs College Football’s Highest-Rated Games of the Week and Ranks at the Top in Noon, Late Afternoon and Primetime Game Windows; ESPN Up Year-Over-Year in Every Game Window

  • ABC’s Saturday Night Football: Highest-Rated Game of the Day 
  • Clemson at North Carolina: Tops All Competitive Networks in Late Afternoon 
  • College GameDay Built by The Home Depot: Up Year-Over-Year for Fourth Consecutive Week

ESPN’s networks’ season-long college football ratings success continued into the final weekend of September, as ABC televised the two highest-rated games in week 5 and its trio of game ratings were at the top in the noon, late afternoon and primetime game windows. The accolades continued over on ESPN, as the network was up year-over-year in every applicable game window and College GameDay Built by the Home Depot was also up in overnight ratings for the fourth consecutive week.

ABC’s Saturday Night Football Airs Highest-Rated Game Despite Lopsided Score
ABC’s Saturday Night Football, which featured Ohio State jumping out to a 14-point first quarter lead over Nebraska (7:30 p.m. ET) on its way to a 38-0 halftime advantage, was the highest-rated game of the day. The Big Ten matchup delivered a 3.9 overnight, peaking at 5.2 early in the game (8-8:15 p.m.). The top markets were:

Rank Local Rating Market
1 36.3 Columbus
2 20.9 Dayton
3 17.6 Cleveland
4 11.5 Cincinnati

ABC Outdraws Multiple Competitive Networks in Late Afternoon Window
ABC’s telecast of Clemson at North Carolina (3:30 p.m.) earned a 3.1 overnight, the highest-rated game of the day in the late afternoon window across any network. The rating for Clemson’s 21-20 victory trailed only ABC’s SNF for highest-rated game of the day and resulted in ABC delivering a 48% increase year-over-year from last season’s similar game (Baylor-Oklahoma).

No Competitive Network Out-Rates ABC in Noon Window
In the noon window, no competitive network out-rated ABC, as the network’s telecast of Northwestern at Wisconsin earned a 2.2 overnight. Throughout the entire CFB Week 5, the overnight for the Badgers’ victory was only out-rated by the two aforementioned ABC games.

ESPN Up Year-Over-Year in Every Game Window; College GameDay Raises Ratings Yet Again
The success of the day continued over on ESPN, as the network saw year-over-year increases throughout Saturday, starting with College GameDay and then in each one of its applicable game windows. Texas A&M vs. Arkansas (noon) earned a 1.6 overnight, cable’s highest-rated overnight of the week and up 60% year-over-year from the same matchup last year, which aired in the same week and timeslot. Additional highlights:

  • Mississippi State at Auburn (7:15 p.m.) earned a 1.2 overnight, up 9% year-over-year (Florida at Mississippi State)
  • UCLA at Arizona (10:45 p.m.) resulted in a 1.1 overnight, up 10% year over year (Ole Miss at LSU)
  • College GameDay was up 8% on ESPN-only, marking the fourth consecutive week the pregame show has increased its rating. The show delivered a 1.3 for the three hours on ESPN-only, including a final hour rating of a 1.7

ESPN Races Ahead on Friday Night
ESPN and ABC’s weekend success began on Friday night, as ESPN aired the two highest-rated games of the night across all networks. Arizona State at Cal (10:30 p.m.) earned a 1.1 overnight and Duke at Virginia Tech (7 p.m.) finished with a 0.9 overnight


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


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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