Press Release

Posted by Michael Humes on March 15, 2013

Men’s College Basketball – Most-Viewed Regular Season Ever on ESPN

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ESPN TV Networks’ 602 Games Averages More Than 500,000 Viewers
Louisville Most-Viewed Market

ESPN’s extensive coverage of the 2012-13 men’s college basketball regular-season was the network’s most-viewed ever. For the season, ESPN averaged 1,370,000 viewers over 135 games, surpassing the previous high of 1,353,000 viewers over 130 telecasts in 2011-12. ESPN averaged a 1.1 coverage rating for each season.

Season’s Top Three Telecasts
ESPN scored this season’s three largest audiences for a college basketball game on the network within a month.

  • Then-No. 3 Indiana defeating No. 1 Michigan on February 2 is the most-viewed and highest-rated with an average of 4,035,000 viewers, a 2.9 coverage rating and 2,867,000 households.
  • Then-No. 1 Indiana beating No. 4 Michigan State on February 19 is the second-largest audience of the season with an average of 3,733,000 viewers, a 2.7 coverage rating and 2,677,000 households.
  • Then-No. 3 Duke defeating No. 5 Miami 79-76 on March 2 averaged 3,416,000 viewers, a 2.5 coverage rating and 2,459,000 households, making it the network’s third most-viewed and third highest-rated men’s college basketball game this season.

ESPN, ESPN2 & ESPNU’s 602 Games Average More Than 500,000 Viewers
ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU’s 602 games for the 2012-13 season – the most extensive coverage on television and more than every network combined – averaged 508,000 total viewers.

Louisville Takes Top Spot… Again
For the 11th consecutive year, Louisville was the highest-rated metered market for ESPN’s regular-season telecasts, averaging a 4.5 rating. Greensboro finished in second place for the second straight year with a 3.1 rating. In addition:

  • All 10 of last season’s top 10 metered markets finished the 2012-13 season among the top 10 again.
  • Louisville, Greensboro, Raleigh-Durham and Charlotte remain the only markets to be among the top 10 every year since 2002-03. Additional markets in this season’s top 10 also finished among the top 10 in multiple years:
    • Knoxville, ninth this season, has finished in the top 10 every year since 2003-04.
    • Kansas City, the fifth highest rated market in 2012-13, was a top 10 market every season except 2008-09 and 2004-05.
    • Indianapolis, fourth this season, was a top market in eight of the past 11 years (except  2010-11, 2004-05 and 2003-04)
  • Three markets were in the top 10 for basketball and college football in the most recent seasons: Columbus, tied at sixth in basketball was tied for fifth in football; Knoxville, tied for 10th in basketball was third in football; and Nashville, tied for 10th in basketball was ninth in football.
  • Eleven markets have been in the top five at least once from 2002-03 to 2012-13: Charlotte, Cincinnati, Columbus, Greensboro, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Knoxville, Louisville, Memphis, Oklahoma City and Raleigh-Durham.
    • Louisville is the only market to go 11 for 11.
    • Greensboro finished as a top-five market every season but when it was sixth in 2004-05.
    • Indianapolis jumped from seventh in 2011-12 to fourth, finishing with a 2.9 rating for a 61 percent increase over last year’s 1.8 rating.
    • Kansas City, which finished in the top three the past three years after not finishing in the top five the previous seven seasons, dropped to fifth.
    • Columbus was in the top five the last four seasons straight but finished sixth in 2012-13.
Top 25 Markets for 2012-13Top 25 Markets for 2011-12
No. 1       Louisville: 4.5 ratingNo. 1       Louisville: 4.5 rating
No. 2       Greensboro: 3.1 ratingNo. 2       Greensboro: 3.5 rating
No. 3       Raleigh-Durham: 3.0 ratingNo. 3       Kansas City: 2.8 rating
No. 4       Indianapolis: 2.9 ratingNo. 4       Columbus: 2.7 rating
No. 5       Kansas City: 2.7 rating               Raleigh-Durham 2.7 rating
No. 6       Cincinnati: 2.1 ratingNo. 6       Charlotte: 2.3 rating
               Columbus: 2.1 ratingNo. 7       Cincinnati: 2.1 rating
No. 8       Dayton: 2.0 ratingNo. 8       Dayton: 2.0 rating
No. 9       Charlotte: 1.8 ratingNo. 9       Indianapolis: 1.8 rating
No. 10     Knoxville: 1.7 rating               Knoxville: 1.8 rating
               Nashville: 1.7 ratingNo. 11     Memphis: 1.6 rating
No. 12     Detroit: 1.6 rating               Nashville: 1.6 rating
No. 13     Birmingham: 1.5 ratingNo. 13     Greenville: 1.5 rating
No. 14     Memphis: 1.3 ratingNo. 14     Cleveland: 1.4 rating
               Hartford & New Haven: 1.3 rating               Birmingham: 1.4 rating
               Greenville: 1.3 rating               Las Vegas: 1.4 rating
               Cleveland: 1.3 ratingNo. 17     Norfolk: 1.2 rating
               Norfolk: 1.3 rating               Hartford and New Haven: 1.2 rating
               St. Louis: 1.3 rating               St. Louis: 1.2 rating
No. 20     Richmond: 1.2 ratingNo. 20     Fort Myers: 1.1 rating
               Las Vegas: 1.2 rating               Atlanta: 1.1 rating
No. 22     Fort Myers: 1.1 rating               Richmond: 1.1 rating
               Milwaukee: 1.1 ratingNo. 23     Pittsburgh: 1.0 rating
No. 24     Baltimore: 1.0 rating               Detroit: 1.0 rating
               Tulsa: 1.0 rating               Oklahoma City: 1.0 rating
               Atlanta: 1.0 rating               Jacksonville: 1.0 rating
               Oklahoma City: 1.0 rating               Tulsa: 1.0 rating

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