SBD/November 4, 2011/Media

CBSSports.com Expects Big Audience For Streaming Of LSU-Alabama Matchup

ESPN broadcasting from "GameDay" set earlier than usual in advance of game

CBSSports.com execs said they are expecting a digital audience of at least a low six-figure number of unique visitors for Saturday's LSU-Alabama football game. The high-profile matchup will be streamed live to a variety of devices, including the iPhone and iPad, as part of CBS' existing multi-platform relationship with the SEC. But given this is the first regular season No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup in five years -- a time period that covers the advent of the iPhone and iPad as well as CBS's comprehensive live streaming of SEC games -- CBSSports.com is expecting a strong double-digit percentage increase in traffic compared to other recent SEC live game streams. "The only thing that sort of compares to this is the SEC Championship game we had [in '09 with Florida and Alabama]. That was one versus two as well, but not regular season," said CBSSports.com Senior VP & GM Jason Kint. "We stream thousands of games every year, and have big things like March Madness, of course. But this is one of the biggest events we ever had to go across all platforms, certainly the biggest football game. The mobile element in particular is going to be really interesting to see since it's a Saturday night and lot of people will be out and not necessarily in front of a TV" (Eric Fisher, SportsBusiness Journal).

HISTORICAL NUMBERS: CBS' most-viewed regular-season college football telecast ever remains the Notre Dame-Miami matchup from '89, which averaged 22.5 million viewers. Including bowl games on the network, that telecast would rank as the second-highest audience for any college football game behind the '96 Nebraska-Florida Fiesta Bowl, which averaged 27.9 million viewers.. Meanwhile, the most-watched college football game on ABC on record is the Notre Dame-USC game from '88, while ESPN's most-viewed game is the Florida State-Miami matchup from '94. Listed below are the most-viewed regular-season college football games ever on CBS, with records dating back to '87 (THE DAILY).

MOST-VIEWED REGULAR-SEASON COLLEGE FOOTBALL GAMES ON CBS
YEAR
MATCHUP
VIEWERS (000)
'89
Notre Dame-Miami
22,495
'09
SEC Championship: Alabama-Florida
17,969
'08
SEC Championship: Florida-Alabama
15,061
'89
USC-Notre Dame
14,745


"SUPER BOWL TREATMENT" FROM ESPN
: In Tuscaloosa, Bryan Reynolds in a front-page piece reports ESPN's "College GameDay" crew arrived at the Alabama campus Wednesday and began broadcasting "College Football Live" "in the shadows of Bryant-Denny Stadium on Thursday afternoon, a day sooner than their normal schedule." "GameDay" producer Lee Fitting said, "This game has taken on a life of its own. It's rare where we come in on a Thursday and do coverage a day, day and a half early. It probably happens one or two times a year, but this was an easy one." "GameDay" co-host Chris Fowler noted he typically arrives at the site of the weekly show on Friday, but Saturday night's game is "so big we're all in here doing College Football Live and giving it the Super Bowl treatment." Fowler: "These analysts are so pumped up about this game, we could do a four-hour special" (TUSCALOOSA NEWS, 11/4).

BECOMING AN EVENT: In Baton Rouge, Scott Rabalais notes the game is "becoming a happening" as determined by the "people trying to get in to Bryant-Denny Stadium." NCAA President and former LSU Chancellor Mark Emmert confirmed that he "plans to attend the game," while MLB Giants P Brian Wilson, who played at LSU, "has reportedly requested a sideline pass." Alabama has "credentialed more than 600 media for the game," including about 75 personnel from CBS (Baton Rouge ADVOCATE, 11/4).

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