Sports Media

College Football is Ratings Gold for ESPN and ABC


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Fans responded to ESPN’s college football Kickoff Weekend (Aug. 29-Sept. 2) with overwhelming enthusiasm, as the slate of games catapulted ESPN or ABC to draw the highest viewership among all cable and broadcast networks.

Season-to-date, ESPN and ABC have also combined to air the five most-viewed games on any network and, across all ESPN networks, have increased its ratings by 35%. During Kickoff Weekend alone, ESPN’s networks increased its rating by 24% and a total of 62.9 million fans tuned in, combining to watch 8.5 billion minutes.

ESPN and ABC completed the five-day Kickoff Weekend with signature primetime games, as Notre Dame at Louisville on Labor Day (8 p.m. ET, ESPN) averaged 5,599,000 viewers and Houston-Oklahoma on Sunday (7:30 p.m., ABC) delivered 5,442,000 viewers.

The two marquee games, combined with ABC Saturday Night Football’s Oregon and Auburn (7:30 p.m.) and the ESPN CFB150 Showcase Game between Duke and Alabama (3:30 p.m., ABC) make up the most-watched games of the weekend. Adding in the Week 0 match-up between Miami and Florida, ESPN and ABC have aired the five most-watched games of the season.



ESPN or ABC delivered the most-viewers in all key male demos (18-34, 18-49 and 25-54) and adults (18-24 and 18-49) during each night of Kickoff Weekend, driving the two networks to ‘Win the Night’. ESPN reached the milestone on August 29, 30 and September 2, while ABC captured the nights of August 31 and September 1. Additionally, ESPN was the second most-watched network on Aug. 31 in the key male and adult demos, only behind ABC.

College GameDay Built by The Home Depot (9 a.m. – noon) delivered an audience of 1,907,000 for its three-hour show. In its final hour, College GameDay drew 2.4 million viewers.