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College Football Postseason Drawing Big Ratings For ESPN

“ESPN PR tweeted on Tuesday that the viewership is up 31% over the opening weekend of bowl season from 2019, with the games averaging 1.8 million viewers.”

Jordan Bondurant

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ESPN

The 2021 college football bowl season kicked off in earnest over the weekend. ESPN is certainly happy with the ratings the nine games drew for the network.

ESPN PR tweeted on Tuesday that the viewership is up 31% over the opening weekend of bowl season from 2019, with the games averaging 1.8 million viewers.

Eight of the nine contests saw audiences of 1 million or more viewers tune in.

ABC’s lineup of games on Saturday, Dec. 18 were huge draws, up 35% from 2019. The Independence Bowl, which featured BYU and UAB, was the top game with 3.2 million tuning in. The LA Bowl, which saw Utah State beat Oregon State, came in with 2.9 million viewers. Meanwhile, the Celebration Bowl, which had Jackson State square off against South Carolina State, had 2.6 million watch.

The Boca Raton Bowl and the New Mexico Bowl did solid for ESPN as well, up 57% over 2019, while the Cure Bowl on ESPN 2 drew in 1.3 million.

ESPN’s coverage of the FCS semifinals has turned out to be a ratings winner too.

Over 1.1 million watched as North Dakota State beat James Madison, while just under 800,000 saw South Dakota State advance past Montana State. The JMU/North Dakota State game was the most-viewed semifinal game since 2009.

ESPN says the viewership of those two games was up a whopping 187% from 2019.

The FCS national title game will be played on Jan. 8 at noon in Frisco, Texas.

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12.6 Million Tune in to Rams-49ers Monday Night Football Matchup

Additionally, the ManningCast featuring Peyton and Eli Manning saw its biggest audience this season.

Jordan Bondurant

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Monday Night Football

ESPN continues to generate massive audiences for its Monday Night Football telecasts.

The network reported that 12.6 million tuned in across ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes to watch the San Francisco 49ers beat the Los Angeles Rams.

Additionally, the ManningCast featuring Peyton and Eli Manning saw its biggest audience this season. ESPN says 1.63 million caught the alternate feed.

That number ranked Monday’s broadcast tied for fourth among 12 previous editions.

Next week’s Monday night game features the Kansas City Chiefs taking on the Las Vegas Raiders.

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Sports TV News

NBC: Big Ten Media Rights Is Biggest New Property Deal Since NFL

“I can’t think of a bigger deal in the 16 years I’ve been here than the Big Ten. It’s very rare to see these properties change hands.”

Jordan Bondurant

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NBC Sports can’t be more excited to be a part of the new Big Ten media rights deal going into effect in 2023.

As part of their share of the $1 billion per year agreement, NBC will shell out $350 million each season to the conference for rights to 14-16 football games over the next seven years.

On a recent edition of SportsProMedia’s StreamTime Podcast, Peacock chief commercial officer Rick Cordella said this was the biggest acquisition for NBC since the network became the home to Sunday Night Football in the NFL in 2006.

“I joined NBC just after the NFL deal and [since then] we’ve re-engaged with NASCAR in 2013 and have signed some pretty important renewals along the way,” he said. “But in terms of a new property, I can’t think of a bigger deal in the 16 years I’ve been here than the Big Ten. It’s very rare to see these properties change hands.”

Cordella added that while NBC’s relationship with Notre Dame is historic and something to hang their hat on, it’s the longevity of the future of the Big Ten as a conference and pseudo-mega conference that makes being in on the new deal so monumental.

“We have a long relationship with Notre Dame that’s pretty unique and something we’re proud of, but to have Big Ten football every week in the fall…that conference is going to be a dominant force in college athletics, and we don’t have to worry about teams being poached and leaving (the conference),” he said.

The fact that Peacock will also be streaming football and men’s and women’s basketball games is another perk.

“It was the right spot to focus our investment and we’re excited to have content across both NBC and Peacock,” Cordella said. “That was an important factor.”

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Sports TV News

SEC on CBS Draws College Football’s Most-Watched Game for Third Straight Week

Alabama-Arkansas drew an average of 5.828 million viewers, making it the most-watched Alabama-Arkansas game in 12 years.

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Alabama-Arkansas
AP Photo/Michael Woods

CBS is reaping the benefits of its package with the SEC. That’s because for the third consecutive week, CBS is home of college football’s highest-rated game of the week.

Alabama-Arkansas drew an average of 5.828 million viewers, making it the most-watched Alabama-Arkansas game in 12 years. That game also peaked at nearly 7 million viewers at one point.

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