SBD/Issue 66/Sports Media

CBS, ESPN See Record Numbers For College Football Coverage

CBS Averages Nearly Seven Million Viewers
For Its 15 SEC Game Telecasts This Season
CBS this year enjoyed its highest-rated package of regular-season college football games since the net began re-airing the sport in '96. The net averaged a 4.4 rating and 6.993 million viewers for 15 SEC game telecasts this season; ratings for last Saturday's Army-Navy game were not available at presstime. The 4.4 rating is up 29% from a 3.4 rating last year (5.369 million viewers) for 16 SEC telecasts. Meanwhile, ESPN had its highest-rated regular season since '99 and most viewed since '94. The net's 71 game broadcasts averaged a 2.2 cable rating and 2.874 million viewers. ESPN2 also had one of its best years -- its 54 games averaged a 1.1 cable rating and 1.492 million viewers, setting a record for the net's most-viewed season. Versus' 25 games averaged a 0.3 cable rating and 326,000 viewers, flat in ratings, but down 7.6% in audience for a combination of Pac-10, Big 12, Mountain West and Ivy League telecasts. ABC ratings and viewership were off slightly from '08, while NBC's Notre Dame package had its best numbers since '06.

NCAA FOOTBALL VIEWERSHIP
NET
GMS
VIEWERS (000)
'08
% +/-
'08 GMS
CBS*
15
6,993
5,097
37.2%
16
ABC
31
6,105
6,274
-2.7%
33
NBC
7
3,684
3,196
15.3%
6
ESPN
71
2,874
2,561
12.2%
69
ESPN2
54
1,492
1,350
10.5%
63
Versus
25
326
353
-7.6%
22
NOTE: * = excludes Army-Navy ('08 and '09) and Notre Dame-Navy ('08)

TOP GAMES: The Alabama-Florida SEC Championship was the most-viewed regular-season telecast in college football this season, drawing 17.969 million viewers. That marks the most-viewed SEC Championship since the game's inception in '92. Outside of the conference championship matchups, ESPN's coverage of the early-season USC-Ohio State game was the most-watched, setting a record as the net's most-viewed college football game ever.

MOST-VIEWED NCAA FOOTBALL GAMES DURING '09 REGULAR SEASON
RK
DATE
NET
GAME
START
VIEWERS (000)
1
12/5
CBS
SEC Championship: Alabama-Florida
4:00pm
17,969
2
12/5
ABC
Big 12 Championship: Texas-Nebraska
8:06pm
12,693
3
9/12
ESPN
USC-Ohio State
7:50pm
10,586
4
10/10
CBS
Florida-LSU
8:00pm
10,496
5
10/17
ABC
Oklahoma-Texas
12:00pm
8,713
6
9/7
ESPN
Miami-Florida State
8:00pm
8,406
7
9/12
ABC
Notre Dame-Michigan
3:30pm
8,391
8
11/27
CBS
Alabama-Auburn
2:30pm
8,124
9
10/3
ABC
(regional)*
8:06pm
7,834
10
11/28
CBS
Florida State-Florida
3:30pm
7,491
NOTE: * = included Oklahoma-Miami and USC-Cal telecasts.

HIGH-WATER MARKS: ESPN averaged a 4.1 cable rating and 5.990 million viewers for its Heisman Trophy presentation telecast Saturday night, marking the event’s highest-rated and most-viewed telecast on the net. Alabama RB Mark Ingram won the award over Stanford RB Toby Gerhart by 28 votes, the closest race in trophy history. The telecast was up 32% and 44%, respectively, from a 3.1 rating and 4.151 million viewers for the '08 ceremony. Birmingham (17.8 local rating) and Austin (10.6) were the top-rated metered markets. Meanwhile, ESPN's "College GameDay" enjoyed its most-viewed season ever, averaging a 1.7 cable rating and 2.034 million viewers on Saturday mornings (THE DAILY).

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