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College Football Week 4: ABC Airs Three Highest Rated College Football Games across All Networks; ESPN/ESPN2 with Five Highest-Rated Games on Cable


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  • Saturday Night Football: Penn State’s Last Second Victory Earns Best Overnight of the Week
  • ABC: Up Year-Over-Year in All Three Game Windows
  • ESPN: Beats FS1 Head-to-Head in All Windows

ABC aired the three highest-rated college football games of week 4 across all networks, while simultaneously growing its own audience from last season’s same week. Across cable networks, ESPN/ESPN2 was the winner, airing the five highest-rated games.

Saturday Night Football Beats Fox by 32% Head to Head; Up 37% Season to Date
ABC’s Saturday Night Football featuring Penn State at Iowa (7:30 p.m.) earned a 3.1 overnight, the highest-rated game of college football’s week 4 across all networks and beating Fox  head-to-head in primetime by 32%. The overnight for the Nittany Lions last second victory was up 11% from last year’s Saturday Night Football matchup (Stanford at UCLA), with the streaming average audience also up 66% (62,000 viewers to 37,000 viewers).

Now four weeks into the season, the SNF franchise is averaging a 4.7 overnight, the highest rated franchise across all network and up 37% from the first four weeks of the 2016 season. The streaming audience in the first three weeks, 151,000 in the average minute, is up 132% year-over-year.

ABC Up Substantially in Noon Window, Televises Highest-Rated Late Afternoon Game

The regional noon window (NC State at Florida State an Texas Tech at Houston) earned a 2.9 overnight,  while adding a streaming audience of 80,000 in the average minute, up 45% and 123%, respectively , from last year’s same  window (Florida State at South Florida). In the late afternoon window, USC at Cal (3:30 p.m.) earned a 2.5 overnight, up from last year’s ABC game and out-rating FOX’ Michigan at Purdue.

ESPN and ESPN2 Attract Highest Overnights Among Cable Networks
ESPN and ESPN2 aired the five highest-rated games on cable in week 4, including ESPN’s four games beating all three games on FS1 on Saturday:  TCU at Oklahoma State (3:30 p.m.) had a 1.7 overnight, followed by both Texas A&M vs. Arkansas (noon) and Mississippi State at Georgia (7 p.m.) earning 1.6 overnights and  UCLA at Stanford (10:30 p.m.) finished with a 1.2 overnight.  On Friday night, Virginia at Boise State (8 p.m. on ESPN2) had a 0.9 rating, the fifth best game on cable this week, beating FS1 by 200% on the same night.


Media contact: Derek Volner at 860-384-9986; [email protected] and @DerekVolner