College Football in Primetime: ESPN and ABC Combine to Average 8.7 Million Viewers; Generate 54% Growth in Audience Year-Over-Year

College Football

College Football in Primetime: ESPN and ABC Combine to Average 8.7 Million Viewers; Generate 54% Growth in Audience Year-Over-Year

  • ABC’s Saturday Night Football Averaged 6.9 Million Viewers

College football fans tuned to ABC and ESPN en masse during Saturday’s Kickoff Weekend primetime action, as the two networks combined to average a viewership of 8,700,000 people in primetime (8-11 p.m. ET). The significant audience represented a 54% primetime growth across the same two networks compared to the sport’s opening Saturday last season.

ABC’s Saturday Night Football Off to Significant Start
The season premiere of ABC’s Saturday Night Football featuring Oregon and Auburn (7:30 p.m.) averaged 6.9 million viewers, which will be the most-watched college football game on any network. The audience for the Tigers’ last-minute victory is up 52% from the network’s franchise season debut last season (Louisville vs. Alabama) and peaked at 8.4 million viewers as Auburn was driving and executed the game-winning touchdown (11-11:15 p.m.).

ESPN Generates Multi-Year Primetime Audience High for Season’s First Full Saturday
ESPN’s primetime game featuring Georgia at Vanderbilt (7:30 p.m.) averaged 1.8 million viewers, up 79% from last season’s Kickoff Weekend Saturday primetime game. The audience for the Bulldogs’ victory represents the best for ESPN in the Kickoff Weekend timeslot since 2016.

Nielsen Fast Nationals data is available for primetime games only. Additional viewership data will be available this week.

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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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