Penn State at Minnesota Draws 6,736,000 Viewers, ABC’s Best Noon Audience in Nearly Three Seasons

College Football

Penn State at Minnesota Draws 6,736,000 Viewers, ABC’s Best Noon Audience in Nearly Three Seasons


  • Across All Nets, ABC Generates Best Noon Audience for Second Consecutive Week; ESPN/ABC Combine to Achieve Sport’s Best Noon Audience Five Times this Season
  • Minneapolis Sets a Local Market Rating Record for Golden Gophers’ Victory
  • College GameDay Built By The Home Depot Delivers Best Viewership of the Season; Best Non-Thanksgiving Weekend Audience Since 2015
  • Season-to-Date:
    • ESPN’s Networks up 8%
    • College GameDay up 3%

College football fans tuned to ABC and ESPN in droves to begin a momentous day in the sport on Saturday, Nov. 9, as ABC’s presentation of Penn State at Minnesota (noon ET) generated the network’s best noon kickoff game in nearly three seasons. More than 6.7 million fans watched the Big Ten matchup and ESPN’s College GameDay (9 a.m. – noon) delivered its best audience of the season, surpassing 2.2 million viewers.

Now, season to date, ESPN’s game coverage is up 8% year-over-year and its Emmy-winning pregame show is boasting a 3% year-over-year audience increase.

Penn State-Minnesota Delivers Another Noon Window Victory for ABC; Network Up 12% in Noon Game Window this Season
ABC’s presentation of Penn State at Minnesota delivered a massive audience of 6,736,000 viewers, the network’s most-watched noon game since the 2016 Michigan at Ohio State showdown. The audience for the Golden Gophers’ win led ABC to achieve the highest noon viewership among all networks for the second consecutive week and, combined with ESPN, the fifth time this season. With four games to go in the season, ABC is up 12% year-over-year in the noon window.

Minneapolis Delivers Best Local Rating on ESPN’s Networks
In the midst of Minnesota’s football team delivering a signature win, the local market set their own record. The Minneapolis market drew a 19.5 local rating, the market’s best rating for a college football game on ESPN’s networks since records began in 2000.

Additional Nittany Lions-Golden Gophers Highlights:

  • Fourth Quarter Peaks Audience: The audience peaked at 8,749,000 viewers as the Nittany Lions and Golden Gophers played deep into the fourth quarter (3 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.)
  • ABC Up Significantly: The audience for the Big Ten game helped ABC to generate a 75% increase year over year for the week across its entire tripleheader (USC at Arizona State at 3:30 p.m. and Clemson at NC State at 7:30 p.m.)
  • Among Season’s Best: Penn State at Minnesota’s audience of more than 6.7 million is among the best audiences for the season across all networks, coming in at ninth overall.
  • Top Five Local Markets:


Rank Local Rating Market
1 19.5 Minneapolis
2 12.8 Pittsburgh
3 9.2 Columbus
4 8.7 Philadelphia
5 8.2 Greenville

Please note: Birmingham, Buffalo, Knoxville, Oklahoma City, and Tulsa’s individual markets were not available

College GameDay Built by The Home Depot Delivers One of its Best Shows in Recent History
College GameDay Built by The Home Depot delivered an average of 2,214,000 viewers across its three hours, marking a number of superlatives for the program:

  • In addition to being College GameDay’s best audience of the season, the show from Tuscaloosa also marked the show’s best non-Thanksgiving weekend episode since 2015.
  • Factoring in all weeks, this is the show’s fourth best audience since 2015, with only Thanksgiving weekend audiences in 2016, 2017, and 2018 surpassing it.
  • This episode’s audience was up 8% compared to last season’s Alabama-LSU College GameDay from Baton Rouge, La.
  • The show’s final hour (11 a.m. – noon) drew 2,727,000 viewers, also the season high for the program.



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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