ESPN Platforms Deliver Most-Watched Game of Week 1 – LSU vs. Florida State Reaches 9.5 Million Viewers on Labor Day Sunday

College Football

ESPN Platforms Deliver Most-Watched Game of Week 1 – LSU vs. Florida State Reaches 9.5 Million Viewers on Labor Day Sunday

  • ESPN Platforms Produce Two of the Top 5, Four of the Top 10 Most-Viewed Games of Week 1
  • College GameDay Continues Winnings Ways
  • ESPN+ Scores Best Labor Day Weekend Ever and Top College Football Game Ever

Week 1 of college football across ESPN platforms produced multi-year highs and several Kickoff Week superlatives, led by LSU vs. Florida State on Sunday night’s Camping World Kickoff Game on ABC. With final data available, the Tigers/Seminoles showdown scored 9.5 million viewers across ABC and streaming. The Sunday night showcase was the top game of the week across all networks and is ABC’s second-best regular season game in the past five years, excluding conference championships. FSU’s victory on Labor Day Sunday is ABC’s most-watched Sunday opener since 2016.

LSU will return to the Week 1 Sunday ABC primetime window in 2024, as the Bayou Bengals battle USC in the Vegas Kickoff Classic. The showcase, presented by ESPN Events, is set for Sunday, Sept. 1 from Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.

Duke’s Labor Day Monday upset victory over then-No. 9 Clemson averaged 4.4 million viewers on ESPN, cementing its spot as cable’s top game and the fourth most-watched game of the week across all networks and platforms. The Tigers/Blue Devils dustup was also the top telecast of the day among P18-49 viewers. Other top 10 matchups across ESPN platforms include the Battle of the Carolinas in the Duke’s Mayo Classic, with the North Carolina/South Carolina clash registering 3.5 million viewers on ABC. Florida at Utah, ESPN’s opening Thursday night game, averaged 3.2 million viewers to become ESPN’s most-watched Thursday opener since 2017.

Week 1 across all ESPN platforms averaged 2.1 million viewers, and college football games on ESPN platforms were the top telecast of the day for P18-49 viewers on Thursday, Sunday and Monday, with Sunday’s LSU/FSU matchup also registering as the top telecast of the day among all P2+ viewers.

Rank Date Matchup Platform P2+ Viewers
1 Sun, Sep 3 LSU vs. Florida State ABC 9.5 million
4 Mon, Sep 4 Clemson at Duke ESPN 4.4 million
7 Sat, Sep 2 North Carolina vs. South Carolina ABC 3.5 million
10 Thu, Aug 31 Florida at Utah ESPN 3.2 million

College GameDay Garners Top Spot
College GameDay Built by The Home Depot reigned supreme on Saturday, delivering 1.7 million viewers across ESPN and ESPNU to take the top spot among all college football pre-game shows across all networks. In the final hour, 2.2 million viewers tuned in as the preeminent pre-game show originated from the Battle of the Carolinas in Charlotte, N.C.

ESPN+ Records Best Labor Day Weekend Ever
ESPN+ had its best Labor Day weekend ever, with viewership up double digits over 2022. Saturday (Sept. 2) was the most-viewed day of college football ever on ESPN+ and two-time defending CFP National Champion and top-ranked Georgia scored a season-opening win and the most-watched college football game on the platform all-time.

Amanda Brooks

Amanda is the Senior Director of Communications overseeing publicity strategy for ESPN’s entire college sports portfolio, including college football and the College Football Playoff, 40 NCAA Championships and ESPN's college networks. Amanda is a proud alum of Hendrix College in Conway, Ark., and earned her master's in ethics from Vanderbilt University. A native of Kent, Ohio, she is a die-hard Cleveland Guardians fan.
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