Notre Dame's Win Over USC Earns ABC 10.0 Overnight, Sets Season's Highest Mark
Notre Dame's quest for its first national championship in 24 years is bound to draw viewers if Saturday's game against USC is any indication. The Irish's dramatic 22-13 win to secure a place in the BCS title game earned a 10.0 overnight, the best college football overnight this season. The previous high was a 7.0 rating for CBS’ Alabama-LSU matchup on Nov. 3. The rating is better than any of ESPN’s BCS bowl game overnights last season outside of the Alabama-LSU National Championship game (13.8). The 10.0 is the highest overnight for an ESPN/ABC regular-season game since the ‘06 Michigan-Ohio St. game earned an 11.5 overnight for a much-hyped battle of the two top-ranked teams. However, the Notre Dame-USC game is short of CBS’ Alabama-LSU primetime matchup during the ’11 regular season (11.9 overnight) (Austin Karp, THE DAILY). USA TODAY’s Michael Hiestand writes ESPN “undoubtedly will lavish monumental hype on the Irish entering the Jan. 7 championship game against No. 2 Alabama or No. 3 Georgia.” The title matchup, especially “if the game is close, has a shot at setting a BCS ratings record, set most recently by the USC-Texas championship game after the 2005 season that drew 21.7% of U.S. households” (USA TODAY, 11/26). In Tampa, Tom Jones writes Notre Dame playing in the BCS title game is “great for college football, whether you like the Irish or not.” Jones: “As they say, it's good for business. And I have to guess ESPN executives are praying for Alabama to beat Georgia because an Alabama-Notre Dame game would deliver huge TV ratings.” Meanwhile, Jones writes ESPN’s Brent Musburger and Kirk Herbstreit “did a bang-up job calling the Notre Dame-USC game on Saturday, although I did have one nit.” Either the crowd noise was “turned up too high or Musburger's microphone was set too low,” as it was “hard to hear Musburger” (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 11/26).
HOME SWEET HOME: SI’s Tim Layden in his cover story about Notre Dame's resurgence notes the school's TV contract with NBC, which is in its 22nd season, is "signed through 2015 at $15 million a year.” NBC Sports Group Chair Mark Lazarus said, “We love the relationship. We intend to be their partners for another 25 years.” Layden notes for NBC, which “paid $1.2 billion for the 2012 Olympics, the cost is minimal.” And for Notre Dame, the money “is less significant than the platform.” Former Big East Commissioner Mike Tranghese said, “You watch the telecast, and it’s clearly a Notre Dame telecast. It may not be maximum dollars, but Notre Dame has a brand, and the NBC deal allows them to advertise that brand” (SI, 11/26 issue).
ESPN GETS COLLEGE PLAYOFF: ESPN on Wednesday formally announced the college football playoff system "will be televised" on the net for 12 years once it starts after the '14 season. A source said that the deal "is worth" about $470M a year. ESPN will "own the rights to all six bowls involved in the four-team playoff system" (AP, 11/21). CBS Sports Network’s Allie LaForce said, “I don’t know that anybody else was really up for it. It was a huge increase in money, basically for two more games.” CBS Sports Network’s Doug Gottlieb said it is a "great get" for ESPN and “they need a signature property.” Gottlieb: “It’s a good marriage. It makes sense for them and college football is something very important to them when they don’t have the playoffs in the NFL” (“Lead Off,” CBS Sports Network, 11/22).