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Volume 26 No. 207
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Auburn-Oregon Thriller Helps ABC To Best Audience Of CFB Weekend

ABC’s Auburn-Oregon telecast led all football games in Week 1 with 6.9 million viewers on Saturday night. Auburn's dramatic last-minute win is up 52% from Alabama-Louisville in the same window last year (4.5 million). Two years ago, “Saturday Night Football” opened with Alabama-Florida State, which drew 12.3 million viewers. That heavily hyped game featured the No. 1 and No. 3 teams in the preseason poll and was called one of the most anticipated season openers in memory. Meanwhile, ESPN on Saturday drew 1.8 million viewers for Georgia-Vanderbilt, marking the cable net’s best Week 1 primetime audience since Clemson-Auburn drew 4.7 million viewers in ’16. That game was moved from its original home on SEC Network after Boise State-Florida State was moved out of its scheduled primetime slot and played earlier in the day due to concern from Hurricane Dorian.

SOONER THAN LATER: Houston-Oklahoma on Sunday night will end up as the second-best audience for Week 1. ABC drew a 3.6 overnight for that primetime matchup, down 12% from a 4.1 for LSU-Miami in the same slot last year, and up 24% from a 2.9 for Virginia Tech-West Virginia in ’17. Meanwhile, Fox on Saturday drew a 2.1 overnight for FAU-Ohio State in the 12:00pm ET window, up 91% from FAU-Oklahoma in the same window last year. Fox had the highest-rated game of the day in that noon window, something the net is putting a lot of emphasis on this season. Last night, ESPN drew a 3.7 overnight for Notre Dame-Louisville, down slightly from Virginia Tech-FSU in the same slot last year (3.8).