Press Release

Posted by Michael Humes on August 28, 2012

College Football’s Top 25 Highest-Rated Markets: Birmingham, Oklahoma City & Columbus Top Three in 2011

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Twelve-Year Analysis: Birmingham Highest-Rated in 11 Years; Knoxville & Columbus Second Highest-Rated Multiple Times; 12 Markets Finish in Top Five

As fans across the country prepare for the start of the 2012 college football season, ESPN examined the ratings for its game telecasts in the 56 metered markets from 2000 to 2011. The results show the Top 25 markets from 2011, how the markets compare to this year’s Top 25 teams and overall trends from the past 12 years.

Highlights from 2000-2011:

  • Top Two:Birmingham, Ala., and Columbus, Ohio, are the only markets to finish in the highest-rated spot as well as in the top five all 12 years:
    • Birmingham was the top-rated metered market every year except 2001 when Columbus knocked the Alabama city to second.
    • Columbus was the second highest-rated market in 2010, 2005, 2003 and 2000.
  • Six in Second:Six of the 56 markets have finished a season in the second highest-rated spot:
    • Knoxville, Tenn. in 2009, 2008, 2006, 2004 and 2002.
    • Columbus in 2011 (tied with Oklahoma City), 2010, 2005, 2003 and 2000 (tied with Nashville).
    • Birmingham in 2001, Nashville in 2000 (tied with Columbus), New Orleans in 2007 and Oklahoma City in 2011 (tied with Columbus).
  • Top Five Markets:Thirteen markets have been in the top five highest-rated at least once from 2000 to 2011.
    • Birmingham and Columbus are the only markets to go 12 for 12.
    • Atlanta and Greenville, S.C. each finished as a top five market for five years overall. Atlanta in 2011, 2005, 2002, 2001 and 2000 and Greenville in 2011, 2009, 2007, 2006 and 2005.
    • Knoxville was in the top five in eight years (2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2004, 2003 and 2002). The home city of the Tennessee Volunteers wasn’t a metered market in 2000 or 2001, and finished 10th in 2011, and sixth in 2005.
    • New Orleans finished in the top five seven times (2011, 2010, 2009, 2007, 2004, 2001 and 2000; metered markets ratings were not available for New Orleans in 2005).
    • Jacksonville was a top-five market in 2010, 2008, 2005, 2004, 2002 and 2001.
    • Oklahoma City finished among the top five four times (2011, 2009, 2008 and 2003).
    • The Tennessee market of Memphis and Nashville each finished in the top five twice. Memphis in 2003 and 2000 and Nashville in 2006 and 2000.
    • Four markets finished in the top five once: Louisville in 2006, Norfolk in 2003 and Orlando in 2000.
  • Solid Debuts: Knoxville and Greenville each debuted as a metered market in 2002 to impressive finishes. Knoxville finished the season in second while Greenville finished in 12th.
  • Select Company in Top 10:Birmingham, Columbus and Jacksonville are the only markets to be among the top 10 every year since 2000. Other markets have impressive streaks as well:
    • Knoxville has finished in the top 10 every year since 2002 when it was first metered.
    • Atlanta has been a top 10 market every year except 2003.
    • Greenville has been in the top 10 every year since 2004.

Highlights of 2011:

  • Oklahoma Markets: Oklahoma City and Tulsa, Oklahoma’s two metered markets, each reached their highest spot in 2011. Oklahoma City finished in second and Tulsa in seventh.
  • Partner Markets: Tulsa and Las Vegas finished 2011 among the top 10 for the first time, capturing seventh and ninth, respectively. The two markets also reached their previous highs together in 2009 when Tulsa was 11 and Las Vegas 13.
  • Cracking the Top Five: Atlanta finished 2011 as the fifth highest rated market (tied with New Orleans), the highest spot since 2005 (third).
Top 25 Markets for 2011
No. 1       Birmingham: 5.9 rating
No. 2       Oklahoma City: 4.3 rating
               Columbus: 4.3 rating
No. 4       Greenville: 4.1 rating
No. 5       New Orleans: 3.4 rating
               Atlanta: 3.4 rating
No. 7       Jacksonville: 3.3 rating
               Tulsa: 3.3 rating
No. 9       Las Vegas: 3.2 rating
No. 10     Knoxville: 3.0 rating
No. 11     Dayton: 2.8 rating
No. 12     Greensboro: 2.7 rating
               Austin: 2.7 rating
               Charlotte: 2.7 rating
               Fort Myers: 2.7 rating
No. 16     Pittsburgh: 2.5 rating
               Nashville: 2.5 rating
               Norfolk: 2.5 rating
               Memphis: 2.5
No. 20     Cleveland: 2.4
No. 21     Orlando: 2.3
No. 22     Raleigh-Durham: 2.2
               West Palm Beach: 2.2
               Detroit: 2.2
No. 25     Cincinnati: 2.0
               Richmond: 2.0
               Portland 2.0
               Kansas City: 2.0
               Tampa-St. Petersburg: 2.0

Top 25 Teams & Markets
USC took the top spot of the preseason Associated Press Top 25 poll, but its home market of Los Angeles wasn’t in the top 25 of highest-rated local markets. Below is a look at the Top 25 and the correlating metered markets for each team. (Note: Some teams reach multiple markets while others are not located in a metered market. All markets are closest to the school’s hometown):

2012 Preseason Top 25 2011 Final Metered Market Rankings (Correlating Markets)
No. 1 USC No. 43 Los Angeles (1.4 rating)
No. 2 Alabama No. 1 Birmingham (5.9 rating)
No. 3 LSU No. 5 New Orleans (tied with 3.4 rating)
No. 4 Oklahoma No. 2 Oklahoma City (tied with 4.3 rating) & No. 7 Tulsa (tied with 3.3 rating)
No. 5 Oregon No. 25 Portland (tied with 2.0 rating)
No. 6 Georgia No. 5 Atlanta (tied with 3.4 rating)
No. 7 Florida State No. 7 Jacksonville (tied with 3.3 rating); No. 21 Orlando (2.3 rating); No. 22 West Palm Beach (tied with 2.2 rating) & No. 25 Tampa/St. Petersburg (tied with 2.0)
No. 8 Michigan No. 22 Detroit (tied with 2.2 rating)
No. 9 South Carolina No. 4 Greenville (4.1 rating)
No. 10 Arkansas No metered markets
No. 11 West Virginia No. 16 Pittsburgh (tied with 2.5 rating)
No. 12 Wisconsin No. 30 Milwaukee (tied with 1.9 rating)
No. 13 Michigan State No. 22 Detroit (tied with 2.2 rating)
No. 14 Clemson No. 4 Greenville (4.1 rating)
No. 15 Texas No. 12 Austin (tied with 2.7 rating); No. 37 San Antonio (tied with 1.6 rating); No. 37 Houston (tied with 1.6 rating) & No. 37 Dallas-Fort Worth (tied with 1.6 rating)
No. 16 Virginia Tech No. 16 Norfolk (tied with 2.5 rating); No. 25 Richmond (tied with 2.0 rating) & No. 30 Washington DC (tied with 1.9 rating)
No. 17 Nebraska No metered markets
No. 18 Ohio State No. 2 Columbus (tied with 4.3 rating); No. 11 Dayton (2.8 rating) & No. 20 Cleveland (2.4 rating)
No. 19 Oklahoma State No. 2 Oklahoma City (tied with 4.3 rating) & No. 7 Tulsa (tied with 3.3 rating)
No. 20 TCU No. 37 Dallas-Fort Worth (tied with 1.6 rating)
No. 21 Stanford No. 44 San Francisco (tied with 1.3 rating)
No. 22 Kansas State No metered markets
No. 23 Florida No. 7 Jacksonville (tied with 3.3 rating); No. 21 Orlando (2.3 rating); No. 22 West Palm Beach (tied with 2.2 rating) & No. 25 Tampa/St. Petersburg (tied with 2.0)
No. 24 Boise State No metered markets
No. 25 Louisville No. 32 Louisville (tied with 1.8 rating)

 

2011 Final Top 25 2011 Final Metered Market Rankings (Correlating Markets)
No. 1 Alabama No. 1 Birmingham (5.9 rating)
No. 2 LSU No. 5 New Orleans (tied with 3.4 rating)
No. 3 Oklahoma State No. 2 Oklahoma City (tied with 4.3 rating) & No. 7 Tulsa (tied with 3.3 rating)
No. 4 Oregon No. 25 Portland (tied with 2.0 rating)
No. 5 Arkansas No metered markets
No. 6 USC No. 43 Los Angeles (1.4 rating)
No. 7 Stanford No. 44 San Francisco (tied with 1.3 rating)
No. 8 Boise State No metered markets
No. 9 South Carolina No. 4 Greenville (4.1 rating)
No. 10 Wisconsin No. 30 Milwaukee (tied with 1.9 rating)
No. 11 Michigan State No. 22 Detroit (tied with 2.2 rating)
No. 12 Michigan No. 22 Detroit (tied with 2.2 rating)
No. 13 Baylor No. 37 Houston (tied with 1.6 rating) & No. 37 Dallas-Fort Worth (tied with 1.6 rating)
No. 14 TCU No. 37 Dallas-Fort Worth (tied with 1.6 rating)
No. 15 Kansas State No metered markets
No. 16 Oklahoma No. 2 Oklahoma City (tied with 4.3 rating) & No. 7 Tulsa (tied with 3.3 rating)
No. 17 West Virginia No. 16 Pittsburgh (tied with 2.5 rating)
No. 18 Houston No. 37 Houston (tied with 1.6 rating)
No. 19 Georgia No. 5 Atlanta (tied with 3.4 rating)
No. 20 Southern Miss No metered markets
No. 21 Virginia Tech No. 16 Norfolk (tied with 2.5 rating); No. 25 Richmond (tied with 2.0 rating) & No. 30 Washington DC (tied with 1.9 rating)
No. 22 Clemson No. 4 Greenville (4.1 rating)
No. 23 Florida State No. 7 Jacksonville (tied with 3.3 rating); No. 21 Orlando (2.3 rating); No. 22 West Palm Beach (tied with 2.2 rating) & No. 25 Tampa/St. Petersburg (tied with 2.0)
No. 24 Nebraska No metered markets
No. 25 Cincinnati No. 25 Cincinnati (tied with 2.0 rating)

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