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Thursday, May 24, 2018

College Football TV Ratings Down Everywhere But Versus, ESPN

In a year where it seems like more and more people are watching sports on TV and ratings records are continuously being set, it’s surprising to learn that the ratings on most college football TV networks were down for the season. According to Sports Business Daily, ESPN’s average viewership was up 3.2% while Versus was up a whopping 27.6%. CBS, which airs SEC games, had the highest average viewership, but they were down 0.7%. ESPN2 was down 5.1%, ABC was down 8.6%, and NBC was down 15% thanks largely to a lack of interest in Notre Dame football.

The most viewed college football game of the year was the Iron Bowl between Auburn and Alabama which had 12.5 million viewers. The second most watched game was the SEC Championship between Auburn and South Carolina which was watched by slightly more than 10 million people. In all, six of the top 10 rated games were SEC contests, helping explain where they get the money to pay all their players. A few other interesting items of note — the Virginia Tech-Boise State game to open up the season was a huge success and the third most watched game of the year. Also, holidays are great — both the Iron Bowl and Oregon-Arizona were in the top 10 most watched games, and both took place the day after Thanksgiving.

I know I was watching many of these games this year but it looks like many sports fans were missing out. Why do you think that is the case? Were you watching? Is your interest in college football down? Were we lacking interesting teams, compelling stories, outstanding players?

All in all, I do think it was a down year in college football — the most interesting story was Cam Newton because he was great, and because he was investigated. It seems like there was a lack of star power this year and it didn’t help that many traditional powers had down years. And maybe another explanation comes from LBS correspondent Reyes who said once you get spoiled with the NFL, the level of play in college just isn’t good enough. What do you think?

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