College football fans continue to tune into the action in large numbers across multiple networks through the second week of the 2012 season. ESPN kicked off the weekend Thursday with Cincinnati’s 34-10 victory over Pittsburgh which averaged a 1.9 coverage rating (1.6 US), 2, 239,000 viewers and 1,830,000 households. The telecast marked increases of 73% (vs. 1.1), 49% (vs. 1,502,000) and 64% (vs. 1,115,000), respectively, over last year’s second week matchup (Arizona at Oklahoma State). Through the second week, ESPN’s Thursday series is averaging a 2.2 coverage rating (1.9 US), 2,861,000 viewers and 2,149,000 households for increases of 69% (vs. 1.3 coverage and 1.1 national), 67% (vs. 1,714,000) and 69% (vs. 1,275,000), respectively, over last season at the same point.
ABC, ESPN and ESPN2 each posted a large audience for Saturday games in week two:
- ABC’s split national broadcast (USC vs. Syracuse, Air Force at Michigan) at 3:30 p.m. was the week’s most-viewed and highest-rated college football window, averaging a 3.3 US rating, 4,709,000 viewers and 3,730,000 households.
- ESPN’s 3:30 p.m. telecast pitting Florida at Texas A&M averaged a 2.9 US rating (3.4 coverage), 4,531,000 viewers and 3,318,000 households. It was the second-highest rated college football game of the day behind ABC’s afternoon contest.
- ESPN2’s prime-time telecast of Georgia at Missouri averaged a 2.4 US rating (2.8 coverage), 4,119,000 viewers and 2,726,000 households, making it the network’s highest-rated and most-viewed Saturday regular-season college football game.
- The SEC contest is ESPN2’s second most-viewed and third highest-rated regular-season college football game on any day. ESPN2 averaged 4,137,000 viewers (a 2.5 US rating, 2.9 coverage and 2,894,000 households) for a Friday night Pittsburgh at West Virginia telecast in 2009 and a 2.5 US rating (3.1 coverage, 3,734,000 viewers and 2,768,000 households) for a Monday LSU at Tennessee matchup in 2005.
In addition to a large national rating, ESPN2’s Georgia at Missouri telecast garnered significant local interest. It was the network’s highest rated college football game in Atlanta and St. Louis ever, averaging an 18.4 metered market rating in Atlanta and 12.7 in St. Louis. The telecast was also the second highest rated college football game ever in Kansas City with a 14.0 metered market rating (Oklahoma St at Missouri on October 11, 2008 averaged a 15.0).
While ESPN is even with last year’s coverage through the same point, ESPN2 and ESPNU are experiencing significant viewership increases for their college football game telecasts. ESPN2 is averaging 1,752,000 viewers for a 20% increase (vs. 1,458,000) and ESPNU is averaging 523,000 viewers for a 14% increase (vs. 410,000).
Note: An ABC season-to-season comparison will be calculated after the rating for the network’s Saturday Penn State at Virginia noon broadcast is available.
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