Press Release

Posted by Michael Humes on November 13, 2013

College Basketball: Michigan State-Kentucky ESPN’s 2nd Most-Viewed Non-Conference Game Ever

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Regular-Season Action Continues with NIT Tip-Off

ESPN’s coverage of No. 2 Michigan State defeating No. 1 Kentucky 78-74 on Tuesday, Nov. 12, is the network’s second most-viewed, non-conference men’s college basketball game. The first telecast of the marquee State Farm Champions Classic doubleheader – which also saw No. 5 Kansas upend No. 4 Duke 94-83 – averaged 4,002,000 viewers and a 2.6 HH US rating. ESPN’s most-viewed game – also a matchup of the top two teams with No. 2 Tennessee defeating No. 1 Memphis 66-62 on February 23, 2008 – averaged 5,281,000 viewers and a 3.2 HH US rating. Additional highlights:

  • Kansas vs. Duke also garnered a large audience, averaging 2,977,000 viewers and a 2.1 HH US rating.
  • The two games averaged a combined 3,509,000 viewers and a 2.4 HH US rating, making it the most-viewed and highest rated Champions Classic, surpassing 2,504,000 viewers and a 1.6 HH US rating in 2012 and 2,514,000 viewers and 1.7 HH US rating in 2011.

This year’s games were the culmination of ESPN’s sixth annual College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon featuring a celebration of the start of the season with nearly 30 hours of continuous game action from Monday, Nov. 11, through Tuesday, Nov. 12. Fast facts about the Tip-Off Marathon are available on ESPN Front Row.

ESPN recently announced it will continue to televise the neutral site Champions Classic with Duke, Kansas, Kentucky and Michigan State for three additional years. The early season event has matched four of the winningest programs against each other since 2011. The doubleheader will be played in Indianapolis (2014), Chicago (2015) and New York City (2016) with venues to be determined.

Champions Classic Top 10 Metered Markets
Seven metered markets were among the top 10 highest rated for both games of the Champions Classic doubleheader: Louisville, Charlotte, Cincinnati, Greensboro, Greenville, Kansas City and Raleigh-Durham.

  • Louisville led all markets for coverage of Michigan State’s win over Kentucky with a 20.3 rating followed by Detroit (8.6), Cincinnati (7.4), Greensboro (7.2), Kansas City (6.8), Raleigh-Durham (6.2), Dayton (6.2), Knoxville (5.9), Charlotte (5.4), Greenville (4.2) and Columbus (4.2).
  • Kansas City was the highest rated market for Kansas’ victory over Duke with a 13.5 rating followed by Raleigh-Durham (7.8), Greensboro (7.6), Louisville (7.3), Charlotte (4.4), Norfolk (4.0), Cincinnati (3.9), Greenville (3.8), Memphis (3.8), Chicago (3.7) and Birmingham (3.7).

Louisville (with a 13.8 rating) and Kansas City (10.1 rating) were the top two markets for the doubleheader, followed by Greensboro (7.4), Raleigh-Durham (7.0), Cincinnati (5.6), Detroit (5.6), Dayton (4.8), Greenville (4.0) and Memphis (3.9).

NIT Tip-Off Highlights Upcoming Coverage
ESPN will continue its extensive coverage with non-conference matchups and action from multiple preseason basketball tournaments, including the NIT Season Tip-Off, Old Spice Classic and Progressive Legends Classic:

  • The NIT Season Tip-Off regional round on ESPNU features No. 3 Duke and No. 6 Arizona hosting two home games.
    • Duke plays UNC-Asheville on Monday, Nov. 18, at 7 p.m. and Arizona hosts Fairleigh Dickinson at 11 p.m.
    • On Wednesday night, second-seeded Duke plays at 6 p.m. and top-seeded Arizona tips at 11 p.m.
    • The Progressive Legends Classic airs on ESPNU and pits Texas Southern at Texas Tech on Monday, Nov. 18, at 9 p.m. and Lehigh at Pittsburgh on Wednesday, Nov. 20, at 7:30 p.m.
    • The Old Spice Classic Regional Round features No. 13 Memphis at No. 8 Oklahoma State on ESPN on Tuesday, Nov. 19, at 8 p.m.
Mon, Nov 18 7 pm. NIT Season Tip-Off: Regional Round: UNC-Asheville at No. 4 Duke
Tom Hart & Doris Burke
ESPNU
  Virginia Military Institute at Virginia Tech ESPN3
  Jacksonville at Wake Forest
Roy Philpott & Stan Lewter
ESPN3
  Eckerd at Florida Gulf Coast ESPN3
  7:30 p.m. NIT Season Tip-Off: Regional Round: Canisius at Rutgers
Jonathan Yardley & Rob Kennedy
ESPN3
  St. Francis-Brooklyn at No. 9 Syracuse
Jason Benetti & Mo Cassara
ESPN3
  8 p.m. NIT Season Tip-Off: Regional Round: Stillman College at Alabama
Mike Morgan & Daymeon Fishback
ESPN3
  9 p.m. Progressive Legends Classic: Regional Round: Texas Southern at Texas Tech
Doug Bell & Reid Gettys
ESPNU
  11 p.m. NIT Season Tip-Off: Regional Round: Fairleigh Dickinson at No. 6 Arizona
Dave Flemming & Sean Farnham
ESPNU
Tue, Nov 19 6 p.m. NIT Season Tip-Off: Regional Round: TBD at No. 4 Duke (Durham, N.C.)
Tom Hart & Doris Burke
ESPNU
  7 p.m. LaSalle at Penn State
Tim Neverett & Brian Allen
ESPN3
  7:30 p.m. NIT Season Tip-Off: Regional Round: TBD at Rutgers (Piscataway, NJ)
Jonathan Yardley & Rob Kennedy
ESPN3
  8 p.m. Old Spice Classic: Regional Round: No. 13 Memphis at No. 8 Oklahoma State
Bob Wischusen & Jay Bilas
ESPN
  NIT Season Tip-Off: Regional Round: TBD at Alabama (Tuscaloosa, Ala.)
Mike Morgan & Daymeon Fishback
ESPN3
  11 p.m. NIT Season Tip-Off: Regional Round: TBD at No. 6 Arizona (Tucson, Ariz.)
Dave Flemming &Sean Farnham
ESPNU
Wed, Nov 20 7 p.m. Dayton at Georgia Tech ESPN3
  Campbell at Cincinnati
Tom Gelehrter & Mark Adams
ESPN3
  7:30 p.m. Progressive Legends Classic: Regional Round: Lehigh at Pittsburgh
Eamon McAnaney & Brooke Weisbrod
ESPNU
  8 p.m. Texas State at SMU
Dave Raymond & Stephen Howard
ESPN3
  9:30 p.m. Iowa State at BYU
Roxy Bernstein & Miles Simon
ESPNU

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