[09/01/19 - 08:28 AM]
College Football Kickoff Weekend: ABC Airs Two Highest-Rated Games on Any Network; ESPN's Networks Up 40% Year-Over-Year
ESPN spins the numbers for Saturday, August 31.

[via press release from ESPN]

College Football Kickoff Weekend: ABC Airs Two Highest-Rated Games on Any Network; ESPN's Networks Up 40% Year-Over-Year

· ABC Saturday Night Football: Highest-Rated Game of the Day and Up 63% Year-Over-Year

· ESPN's Networks Cumulatively Lead in Each Game Window

· College GameDay Built by The Home Depot Continues Strong Start

ABC aired the two highest-rated college football games on any network during Saturday's action of college football's Kickoff Weekend, including its signature franchise Saturday Night Football leading the way among all games. Across all of Kickoff Weekend thus far (Aug. 29-Aug 31), ESPN/ABC/ESPNEWS have aired 12 of the 14 highest-rated games across all networks.

The individual strong game ratings have led to ESPN's networks being up 40% year-over-year in Week 1 (14 games), including ESPN being up 22% (8 games). The networks' ratings success was also evident in each individual game window, as ESPN's networks had the highest cumulative ratings in the noon, late afternoon and primetime windows, respectively.

ABC's Fast Start: Two Highest-Rated Games and Up Year-Over-Year

ABC's Saturday Night Football featuring Oregon vs. Auburn (7:30 p.m. ET) delivered a 4.4 overnight, the highest-rated game of Kickoff Week among all networks. The overnight for the Tigers' last-minute victory resulted in a 63% ratings increase compared to the franchise's season opener in 2018 (Louisville vs. Alabama).

ABC's rating peaked at 5.5 as Auburn drove and scored the game-winning touchdown (11:15-11:30 p.m.). Birmingham led all markets with a 37.1 overnight. The top 10 local markets:

Rank Market Rating
1 Birmingham 37.1
2 Portland 14.7
3 Tulsa 8.8
4 Oklahoma City 8.5
5 Nashville 8.4
6 Jacksonville 8.3
7 Memphis 8.0
8 Knoxville 7.9
9 Columbus 7.3
10 Atlanta 7.0

Leading in SNF, the ESPN CFB150 Showcase Game featuring Duke vs. Alabama (3:30 p.m.) delivered a 3.1 overnight, the highest-rated late afternoon game of the day and the second highest-rated game of any network across week 1. Birmingham also was the top local market, earning a 37.8 overnight. The top five markets:

Rank Market Rating
1 Birmingham 37.8
2 Atlanta 9.1
3 Memphis 8.8
4 Nashville 8.3
5 New Orleans 7.3

ESPN's Networks Combine to Deliver Biggest Ratings in Noon Window

In addition to airing the highest-rated primetime and late afternoon games of the day, ESPN's networks, cumulatively, were the highest-rated networks among any media company in the noon game window of the day. In that window, ESPN's networks combined to deliver a 3.4 overnight across its four games.

Birmingham Welcomes Back College Football in a Big Way

Birmingham was consistently tuned to ABC on Saturday, as across the three football game windows, 29% of the market on average was watching the network between noon and 11:30 p.m.

College GameDay's Strong, Consistent Start Continues

College GameDay Built by the Home Depot (9 a.m.-noon) delivered a 1.4 overnight (ESPN and ESPNU), including a 1.6 for its final hour on ESPN only.

From This Morning: CFB Kickoff Weekend - ABC Airs Two Highest-Rated Games on Any Network; ESPN's Networks up 40% Year-Over-Year

College Football in Primetime: ESPN and ABC Combine to Average 8.7 Million Viewers; Generate 54% Growth in Audience Year-Over-Year

· ABC's Saturday Night Football Averaged 6.9 Million Viewers

College football fans tuned to ABC and ESPN en masse during Saturday's Kickoff Weekend primetime action, as the two networks combined to average a viewership of 8,700,000 people in primetime (8-11 p.m. ET). The significant audience represented a 54% primetime growth across the same two networks compared to the sport's opening Saturday last season.

ABC's Saturday Night Football Off to Significant Start

The season premiere of ABC's Saturday Night Football featuring Oregon and Auburn (7:30 p.m.) averaged 6.9 million viewers, which will be the most-watched college football game on any network. The audience for the Tigers' last-minute victory is up 52% from the network's franchise season debut last season (Louisville vs. Alabama) and peaked at 8.4 million viewers as Auburn was driving and executed the game-winning touchdown (11-11:15 p.m.).

ESPN Generates Multi-Year Primetime Audience High for Season's First Full Saturday

ESPN's primetime game featuring Georgia at Vanderbilt (7:30 p.m.) averaged 1.8 million viewers, up 79% from last season's Kickoff Weekend Saturday primetime game. The audience for the Bulldogs' victory represents the best for ESPN in the Kickoff Weekend time slot since 2016.

Nielsen Fast Nationals data is available for primetime games only. Additional viewership data will be available this week.

  [september 2019]  


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