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ABC’s Saturday Night Football: Michigan at Penn State is Highest-Rated College Football Game of Week 8 across All Networks

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  • ABC Earned Three of the Four Best Overnights of Week 8; Significant Year-Over-Year Increases in Multiple Windows
  • ABC and ESPN Deliver in the Noon Window
  • ESPN/ESPN2 Deliver the Five Best Cable Overnights of the Week

For the fifth consecutive week and seven of the eight weeks of the college football season, an ESPN network aired the highest-rated game of the day across all networks. Additionally, in week 8, ABC aired three of the top four games and, in prime time, easily drew the strongest audience across all networks airing college football.

ABC’s Saturday Night Football Leads the Way Among All Networks; ESPN/ABC Continue to Set Pace in 2017 Season
ABC’s Saturday Night Football featuring Michigan at Penn State (7:30 p.m. ET) earned a 4.2 overnight, by far college football’s best overnight of the week across all the networks. In prime time, the overnight for the Nittany Lions’ victory beat the other broadcast networks carrying college football games by 90% and 366%, respectively. Overall, it was the top-rated game of the day by 45%.

The overnight for the Big Ten rivalry is ABC’s second best since opening weekend and is the fourth best of the 2017 season across all networks.  Eight weeks into the season, ABC has now aired the five best overnights of the season across all networks and, combined with ESPN, the networks have aired nine of the top 10.

Columbus was the No. 1 local market for the Wolverines-Nittany Lions game, earning a 17.6 overnight, followed by Detroit with a 16.3. The complete top 10 local markets:

Rank Rating Market
1 17.6 Columbus
2 16.3 Detroit
3 11.4 Dayton
4 11.3 Pittsburgh
5 10.6 Philadelphia
6 7.0 Cleveland
7 6.9 Nashville
8 6.4 Atlanta
9 6.3 Greensboro
10 6.2 Birmingham


ABC Ties Season High for Noon Window for Second Consecutive Week
Oklahoma State at Texas (noon, ABC) earned a 2.9 overnight, tying as the second best overnight of the week across all networks and up 59% from last season’s comparable window on ABC (NC State at Louisville). For the second consecutive week, ABC has earned a strong number for its first game of the day, as the overnight equaled week 7’s Michigan at Indiana game as the best overnight for a noon ET game all season across all networks. ABC’s regional action in the noon window on Sept. 23 also did a 2.9 overnight, giving ABC the best three overnights in that window this season.

ESPN Beats Fox in Noon Window; ESPN/ESPN2 Earn Five Highest Cable Overnights in Week 8
Louisville at Florida State (ESPN) earned a 2.0 overnight, giving ESPN/ABC the top two overnights of the week in the noon window , with ABC surpassing Fox by 163% and ESPN surpassing them by 82%. ESPN beat FS1 in the same window by 900%. Overall, ESPN/ESPN2 had the top 5 rated games on cable in week 8.

ABC Sees Strong Growth in Last Afternoon Window
Indiana at Michigan State (3:30 p.m., ABC) earned a 2.3 rating, which was the fourth highest-rated game of the day across all networks. The Big Ten battle was up 35% from last season’s similar game (regional action: TCU at West Virginia or Purdue at Nebraska).