More than 163 million fans watched 77 billion minutes of college football games on ESPN’s networks, more fans reached than any other network and 33% more minutes watched than competitor networks combined, further solidifying ESPN’s networks and ABC as the home of college football’s regular season. Additionally, more than 16.5 billion minutes were spent on ESPN’s Digital Platforms during college football Saturdays this year, up 15% year-over-year.
The massive collection of viewers, which represents nearly half of the United States population, is a result of consistent marquee audiences throughout the season’s 14 weeks, highlighted by delivering the largest, most-consistent prime-time audience, peppering the most-watched game list, and earning multi-year highs in many categories.
ABC’s Saturday Night Football: Most-Watched Prime-time Franchises across All Networks, Tops Main Broadcast Competition by 71%; Combines with ESPN to Air Most-Watched Prime-Time Game Nearly Every Week of the Season
ABC’s Saturday Night Football averaged 5,077,000 viewers, easily the most-watched prime-time audience across all networks with regular primetime packages and besting the regular broadcast competition by 71%. On a weekly basis, ABC’s Saturday Night Football aired the most-watched primetime game nine times and ESPN did this twice, a feat no other broadcast network achieved more than once. In seven of the 14 weeks, ABC and ESPN combined to air the two most-watched primetime games across all networks.
Nearly Nine Million Viewers Watching ESPN’s Networks in Prime-Time Each College Football Saturday
Across ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU, ESPN networks averaged 8,795,000 viewers in prime-time each week, including 2,830,000 viewers on ESPN. The 8.8 million viewers watching ESPN’s networks is similar to airing a top three prime-time game each week.
ESPN and ABC “Won the Night” Nine Times, Led in Key Male Demo 13 Times
ESPN and ABC’s prime-time success extended beyond its college football competition, as the sport drove the two networks to “win the night” nine times this season, out-delivering all programming on all other networks – sports and non-sports – among viewers P2+. Narrowing it down to key demos, the networks’ performance is stronger, as college football resulted in ABC/ESPN leading the male 18-34, male 18-19 and male 25-54 demo 13 different times.
ABC’s Telecast of Big 12 Championship among Most-Watched Games of the Season
ABC’s presentation of the Big 12 Championship between Oklahoma and Texas delivered a total live audience of 10,299,000 viewers, a top four most-watched game of the season. The game highlighted a championship week that saw ESPN/ABC combine on a number of superlatives, including:
ESPN/ABC Demonstrate Season-Long Success; ESPN/ABC Combine to Air 10 of 20 Most-Watched Games
ABC aired four of the top nine most-watched games this season, and, combined with ESPN, 10 of the top 20 games. Among the individual highlights on both networks:
ESPN Stands Alone in Cable’s Most-Watched Games
ESPN once again set the pace among all cable networks, as the network aired the 17 most-watched cable games, and 24 games with audiences north of two million, a feat achieved by a competitor’s network only twice. Overall, combined with ESPN2, the networks aired 46 of the top 50 and 83 of the top 100.
College GameDay Built by The Home Depot Grows Viewership Year-Over-Year
College GameDay Built by The Home Depot averaged 1,902,000 viewers across ESPN and ESPNU, up 3% from last season’s ESPN-only presentation. The show’s week 13 episode from Columbus, Ohio, earned 2,478,000 viewers, the second-most-watched show since 2011.
Birmingham Finishes as No. 1 Local Market: Accomplished Every Season Since Records Began in 2002
Across ESPN/ABC, Birmingham, Ala., was the highest-rated local market once again, a feat the market has achieved each year since records began in 2002.