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ABC’s Saturday Night Football: Michigan State at Michigan Delivers More than 6.6 Million Viewers, Most-Watched Game of Week 6 across All Networks; ESPN Airs Second-Most Watched Game

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  • ESPN/ABC: Beats Competition Three Out of Four Game Windows on Saturday; Airs Four of Five Most-Watched Games Overall
  • Alabama at Texas A&M: Second Most-Watched Game of Week 6; Cable’s Most-Watched Saturday Game This Season

ESPN’s networks were home to college football’s biggest audiences in week 6, led by ABC televising the most-watched game of the week across all networks and ESPN airing the second most-watched game. While both of the highest audiences of the week were in prime-time, ESPN’s networks also televised the most-watched noon and late-night game as well across all networks. Overall, ESPN’s networks aired four of the five most-watched games across all networks.

ABC and ESPN Lead the Way in Week 6; Both Increase Audiences in Prime-Time
ABC’s Saturday Night Football featuring Michigan State at Michigan (7:30 p.m.) earned a total live audience of 6,628,000 viewers, college football’s most-watched game of week 6. In the same prime-time window, ESPN’s telecast of Alabama at Texas A&M (7:15 p.m.) earned a Nielsen total live audience of 4,774,000 viewers, the second most-watched game of week 6 across all networks.

The more than 6.6 million viewers that witnessed the Spartans’ victory was 18% higher than SNF last season’s week 6 game (Florida State at Miami), while the audience on ESPN for Alabama’s win was up 7% from the network’s equivalent game last season, which featured Alabama at Arkansas.  ABC’s SNF audience outdrew Fox by 245% in prime-time, while ESPN’s audience outdrew Fox by 148%.

ABC’s Saturday Night Football Continues 2017 Season Success; Helps ABC Win the Night Across All Networks
Saturday Night Football
has been the most-watched prime-time game each week of the 2017 college football season and the most-watched game of the week five of six weeks. Additionally, for sixth consecutive week of the college football season, SNF has helped ABC win the night among households, viewers and all key male and adult demos (M18-34, M18-49, M25-54, P18-34, P18-49 and P25-54).

Additional Week 6 SNF Highlights:

  • Among Most-Viewed Games of the Season: The Big Ten rivalry game is the fourth most-watched college football game this season across all networks, with each of the four airing on ABC.
  • Michigan’s Final Drive Peaks Audience: The television audience peaked at 8,858,000 viewers as Michigan was driving for a potential game-winning touchdown (11 – 11:15 p.m.).
  • Detroit Draws Big Local Ratings: The rivalry game was one of the highest ever in Detroit, which was documented on Sunday morning.

ABC Televises Most-Watched Noon Game; ESPN Airs Most-Viewed Late Night Game
Penn State at Northwestern (noon on ABC) had a total live audience of 2,887,000 viewers, the most-watched noon telecast across all networks while California at Washington (10:45 p.m.) earned a Nielsen total live audience of 1,634,000 viewers, the most-viewed late night game across all networks. Miami at Florida State (3:30 p.m. on ESPN) earned Nielson total live audience of 2,726,000 viewers, the second most-watched late afternoon game across all networks.

Please note: Georgia at Vanderbilt (Noon on ESPN) had 1,958,000 viewers, an increase over last season’s similar telecast (Auburn at Mississippi State).

ESPN introduced a new reporting structure on Sept. 25, with more details available here. Of note, Nielsen’s reported numbers now reflect a portion of the streaming audience for ESPN and ESPN2. For ABC, ESPN’s internal streaming numbers are used to generate a total live audience.

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Media contact: Derek Volner at 860-384-9986; Derek.Volner@ESPN.com and @DerekVolner