Notre Dame at Michigan on ABC’s Saturday Night Football Draws More than 6.7 Million Viewers, the Most-Watched Big Ten Controlled Game of the Day across All Networks

College Football

Notre Dame at Michigan on ABC’s Saturday Night Football Draws More than 6.7 Million Viewers, the Most-Watched Big Ten Controlled Game of the Day across All Networks

  • ABC Finishes Up 70% for the Week; All Three Individual Game Windows Up for the Day
  • ABC Peaks at 8.7 Million Viewers in the Noon Window for Oklahoma-Kansas State
  • Season to Date: ESPN Networks Up 13%; ABC’s Saturday Night Football Up 8%

ABC’s Saturday Night Football’s featuring Notre Dame at Michigan (7:30 p.m. ET) was the most-watched Big Ten controlled game of the week across all networks, as the Fighting Irish-Wolverines averaged more than 6.7 million viewers for the one-sided Wolverines victory. In addition to airing one of the most-watched games of the day, the franchise’s audience concluded a week which ABC finished up 70% year-over-year, including increasing its audiences in each of its three game windows.

With another strong individual week performance, ESPN’s networks are up 13% for the season across all Nielsen-rated networks.

ABC’s Saturday Night Football Drives Significant Year-Over-Year Audience Increase
The Fighting Irish-Wolverines matchup averaged 6,754,000 viewers, driving Saturday Night Football to a 93% increase year-over-year (Texas at Oklahoma State). For the season, the franchise is up 8% year-over-year.  Detroit was the top market for the rivalry game, finishing with an 18.1 local rating. The complete top five:

Rank Local Rating Market
1 18.1 Detroit
2 15.8 Columbus
3 8.0 Dayton
4 7.5 Indianapolis
5 7.2 Cincinnati

Big 12 Upset Draws Sport’s Top Peak Audience in Game Window
The audience for Oklahoma at Kansas State (noon) peaked at 8.7 million viewers (3:30-3:40 p.m.) as the Wildcats completed the upset over the Sooners. The peak audience was the best in the time slot across all networks.

Through the entire game, the matchup averaged 4,214,000 viewers, which was up 33% from last year’s same game window (Clemson at Florida State). Oklahoma City was the top local markets, delivering a 27.8 rating. The complete top five are as follows:

Rank Local Rating Market
1 27.8 Oklahoma City
2 23.6 Tulsa
3 16.9 Birmingham
4 8.8 Kansas City
5 6.7 Nashville

Penn State at Michigan State Draws Nearly Four Million Viewers
Penn State at Michigan State (3:30 p.m.) averaged 3,915,000 viewers, also up 92% year-over-year (reverse mirror games). The Big Ten matchup was the second-most watched matchup in the late afternoon.

Washington State-Oregon Draws Best Late Game Audience This Season
ESPN’s presentation Washington State at Oregon (10:30 p.m.) is best among late games this year based on initial Nielsen reporting*, as the Cougars-Ducks matchup averaged 1,895,000 viewers, a 57% increase year-over year. The audience was consistent, as more than 1.9 million viewers watched the Pac-12 showcase from 11:15 p.m. to 1:45 a.m.

ESPN and ABC Combine for Nearly Nine Million Viewers in Primetime
Buoyed by ABC’s Saturday Night Football and combined with ESPN, the two networks averaged nearly nine million viewers throughout primetime on Saturday. Arkansas-Alabama (7 p.m.) drew 2,121,000 viewers for the SEC game alone.

College GameDay Built by The Home Depot (9 a.m. – noon) averaged 1,706,000 viewers for the complete three hour show from Brookings, SD. In the final hour, the show averaged 2,070,000 viewers.

*Among initial reporting, Washington at Stanford drew 1,879,000 viewers; Current reporting, which includes additional streaming audience, has its audience at 1,910,000.


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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