ABC/ESPN’s College Football by the Numbers; ‘Saturday Night Football’ Beats SEC on CBS

 

People love some college  football! On Tuesday ESPN put out some year-in-review stats for its college football games. Total reach (watched at least some college football on ABC/ESPN) of 179,000,000 watching over 100 BILLION minutes.  ESPN has more college football games and rightfully boasted that the 100 billion minutes was more than twice as much as all the nationally rated networks combined.

Michigan versus Ohio State on ABC (at noon, no less) was easily the most-watched game of the season with 16.8 million viewers:

Rank

TV Viewership

Game

Date

Network

1

16,841,000

Michigan at Ohio State

Nov. 26, 2016

ABC

2

11,093,000

Alabama vs. Florida

Dec. 3, 2016

CBS

3

10,945,000

Notre Dame at Texas

Sept. 4, 2016

ABC

4

10,385,000

Alabama at LSU

Nov. 5, 2016

CBS

5

9,286,000

Louisville at Clemson

Oct. 1, 2016

ABC

6

9,189,000

Wisconsin at Penn State

Dec. 3, 2016

FOX

7

8,964,000

Ohio State at Wisconsin

Oct. 15, 2016

ABC

8

8,455,000

Texas A&M at Alabama

Oct. 22, 2016

CBS

9

8,354,000

Ole Miss vs. Florida State

Sept. 5, 2016

ESPN

ESPN also had a good year with the Saturday Night Football package on ABC which averaged nearly 6 million viewers for the season and was the most-watched college football franchise of the year beating out SEC on CBS (and all the others) in viewership and in all key advertising demographics.

I’m not sure when the last time Saturday Night Football beat the SEC on CBS in viewership but it’s been at least four years:

YearSEC on CBSABC Saturday Night Football
20165,651,0005,996,000
20155,608,0005,462,000
20146,397,0006,197,000
20137,353,0005,750,000

Sweet home Alabama: across ABC and ESPN’s Nielsen-measured networks, Birmingham was the top local market followed by Columbus, Ohio:

 

Rank

Local Rating

Market

1

7.4

Birmingham

2

6.7

Columbus

3

4.9

Dayton

4

4.7

Greenville

5

3.9

Cleveland

6

3.8

Knoxville

7

3.7

Nashville

8

3.6

Detroit

9

3.6

Oklahoma City

10

3.6

Atlanta

11

3.5

Louisville

12

3.4

Tulsa

13

3.4

New Orleans

14

3.3

Austin

15

3.2

Memphis

Streaming is growing, but…ESPN’s average minute streaming audience was up 31% year over year but it’s still pretty small. While nearly 4 million streamed at least a tiny beat in week one of the season and 3 million streamed at least a little in week 13, the year’s most-watched (and most-streamed) game that averaged 16.8 million on TV averaged only 279,000 via streaming. Here are the top 4 most-streamed games of the season:

 

Rank

Average Minute Audience

Game

Date

1

279,000

Michigan at Ohio State

Nov. 26, 2016

2

231,000

Ole Miss vs. Florida State

Sept. 5, 2016

3

200,000

Louisville at Clemson

Oct. 1, 2016

4

194,000

Notre Dame at Texas

Sept. 4, 2016

More details via ESPN.

Leave a Reply