SBD/October 21, 2011/Media

ABC College Football Audience On The Rise; CBS, NBC, ESPN, ESPN2 Seeing Declines

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FSU-Oklahoma stands as highest-rated college football game on any net this season
ABC is leading all college football broadcasters at the midway point of the ’11 season with a 3.7 rating and 5.7 million viewers for its 15 telecasts to date. That is up 16% and 12%, respectively, from a 3.2 rating and 5.1 million viewers for 12 telecasts at the same point last season. The net's “Saturday Night Football” has helped fuel audience numbers, averaging a 4.3 rating and 7.0 million viewers for five telecasts, up 26% and 28% from last year. The Sept. 17 telecast of Oklahoma-Florida State remains the highest-rated and most-viewed college football game of the season on any net with a 5.8 rating and 9.3 million viewers. Those figures are ABC’s best non-bowl game audience since the Texas-Nebraska Big 12 Championship in ’09 (7.5 rating/12.7 million viewers). CBS’ SEC football package is averaging a 3.3 rating and 5.2 million viewers through six games, down 15% and 18%, respectively, from last year. CBS should receive a bump in two weeks when No. 1 LSU and No. 2 Alabama face off in Tuscaloosa. NBC is averaging a 2.0 rating and 2.9 million viewers for its three Notre Dame football games to date, down sharply from the same point last year. A blowout victory against Air Force on Oct. 8 which earned a 1.1 rating marked NBC’s lowest-rated Notre Dame game ever.


CABLE
: ESPN is averaging a 1.7 U.S. rating and 2.6 million viewers for its 38 college football telecasts to date, down slightly from a 1.8 rating and 2.8 million viewers last year (40 telecasts). Primetime telecasts on Saturday have seen a sharp drop on the net. ESPN’s seven Saturday primetime games have averaged a 2.2 rating and 3.6 million viewers, down 24% in ratings and viewers compared to the same point last season. Telecasts on ESPN2 are averaging a 0.9 rating and 1.3 million viewers, down slightly from a 1.0 rating and 1.5 million viewers. During its first season airing weekly Big 12 and Pac-12 games, FX is averaging a 0.6 rating and 970,000 viewers. The net’s best audience to date was a 1.2 rating and 1.9 million viewers for Missouri-Oklahoma on Sept. 24, which has been over double the audience of any of the net’s other six games. Versus’ mix of Mountain West and Pac-12 games are seeing a gain in viewership to date (+6%). Ratings for those matchups are flat at a 0.2 rating. National telecasts on FSN are also seeing a drop for both Pac-12 and Big 12 matchups to date.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL VIEWERSHIP THROUGH WEEK SEVEN
NET
GMS
VIEWERS (000)
PREV.
% +/-
'10 GMS
ABC
15
5,730
5,118
12%
12
CBS
6
5,188
6,306
-18%
6
NBC
3
2,917
3,409
-14%
5
ESPN
38
2,577
2,808
-8%
40
ESPN2
17
1,323
1,541
-14%
19
FX
7
970
--
--
--
Versus
7
385
362
6%
8

NOTES: All games starting after 9:00pm ET are excluded from ESPN and ESPN2 figures. Navy telecasts are excluded from CBS audience figures, while Ivy League telecasts are excluded from Versus. Nielsen ratings are not available for games on ESPNU, CBS Sports Network and Fox College Sports.

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Related Topics:

Media, NBC, CBS, ABC, ESPN, Versus

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