Tue. Mar 21st, 2023

The greatest shocker in Columbus on Saturday will be if Michigan–Ohio State is not the biggest Television audience of the college football common season.

The No. two Buckeyes host the No. three Wolverines at noon on Fox, and with a CFP berth on the line for two applications with huge national profiles. It is a affordable expectation that the game should really major the 13 million viewers for Tennessee-Georgia from Week ten that is the present season-very best viewership.

Regardless of their rankings, each Ohio State and Michigan look really mortal right after struggling with lesser opponents this previous weekend. Will that dampen viewership? In all probability not, unless it is promptly evident the game is going to be a blowout by either college.

Final year’s game in Ann Arbor — UM’s 42-27 upset to break a string of eight losses to its archrival — averaged 15.83 million viewers for the noon kickoff on Fox. That was The Game’s very best Television audience considering that 16.84 million viewers watched on ABC in 2016, when Ohio State won in double overtime. ESPN later stated that game truly topped 17 million with added Nielsen and digital measurements.

The very best viewership on record in the game’s history is 21 million in 2006, when No. 1 OSU won 42-39 in Columbus. It was the 1st time they’d played ranked 1st and second. That also was just before Nielsen tracked out-of-dwelling viewership, so the actual audience could have been a bit larger.

Though it is an iconic rivalry that is often going to draw excellent viewership, Michigan’s victory in 2021 may possibly have breathed required new life into what had settled into a one particular-sided affair for most of the 21st century. The Wolverines hadn’t won considering that 2011, and it was only their fourth win in the series considering that 2000.

The Ohio State-Michigan game has aired just about every year on Television considering that 1967, with the Buckeyes getting the win-loss edge considering that then. They’ve played considering that Michigan won the inaugural meeting, 34-, on Oct. 16, 1897, and the Wolverines lead the all-time series, 59-51-six.

There was no game in 2020 since of the pandemic, and its return final season was clearly welcomed by fans watching on Television in large numbers. The game averaged 12.42 million viewers in the pre-pandemic 2019 season.

Right here are the audiences for the previous six Ohio State-Michigan games:

Ohio State-Michigan on Television

YearResultTV viewership avgNetwork


UM 42, OSU 27

15.83 million



No game


OSU 56, UM 27

12.42 million



OSU 62, UM 39

13.34 million



OSU 31, UM 20

ten.five million



OSU 30, UM 27 (2OT)

16.84 million



OSU 42, UM 13

ten.83 million


Final year’s OSU-UM game had a bigger audience than all of the conference championship games and just about every bowl except the Rose Bowl, the Cotton and Orange bowls (each College Football Playoff semifinal games) and the national title game, per Sports Media Watch’s database.

What will we see viewership-sensible this year? A lot of components will impact the final audience typical.

For the 1st time considering that 2006, each teams come into Ohio Stadium undefeated, and it is the second straight year and 13th time general they’ve played when each are ranked in the major 5 of the AP poll. The Buckeyes are coming off a squeaker at Maryland when Michigan labored to beat going to Illinois. These games, each on ABC back to back final Saturday, averaged six.59 million and five.47 million viewers, respectively. These have been the major college football audiences final week.

As lengthy as the score remains fairly close on Saturday, the audience will stick with the broadcast. Blowouts have a tendency to leak viewership as the game drags on and any excitement vanishes.

Definitely, the lengthy rivalry and history are a big element. Virtually equally so, specifically to draw in casual fans or fans of other schools, is what’s on the line — a shot at the conference title and the College Football Playoff.

Also affecting audience totals are competitors on other channels. ESPN will have No. 1 Georgia playing unranked Georgia Tech at noon when No. 9 Clemson at South Carolina is on ABC. Two Planet Cup matches will be underway on FS1 throughout The Game (France-Denmark, 11 a.m. Argentina-Mexico, two p.m.), but these look unlikely to siphon as well a great deal OSU-UM audience.

Storylines inside the game itself also assist drive viewership. On Saturday, the apparent conversations will be about Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud and his coterie of talented wide receivers versus Michigan’s stout defense, when the Buckeyes’ defense has to contend with UM’s potent operating game led by Blake Corum, who suffered a leg injury final week.

Lastly, Saturday is component of a lengthy vacation weekend, with millions of Americans engaging in beloved traditions such as tuning out arguing drunk relatives when horking down a sprawling Thanksgiving spread (and then sneaking leftovers for days), finding angry when attempting to acquire a Samsung Television in a crowded Target on Black Friday, finding angrier when untangling Clark Griswold-like Christmas tree lights outdoors in the cold, finding even extra angry at inflationary Christmas tree rates, and then watching a bunch of football on the couch when poorer and fatter.

Or perhaps that is just me?  ¯_(ツ)_/¯

Anyway, the game’s Television viewership will also reinforce that college football on U.S. tv continues to be the greatest draw right after the NFL, and the sport is led in audience largely by the SEC and Large Ten. Each week of the 2022 college football season has been led in viewership by games from one particular of the two conferences. Saturday will most likely see each of them atop the weekly eyeball tallies once more.

What do I consider Saturday’s viewership will be? My thoughts has changed many occasions, and my present pondering is 16 million.

Jon Lewis — publisher of Sports Media Watch, which has tracked and analyzed reside sports viewership considering that 2006 — stated Saturday’s game should really have 2022’s very best common-season viewership.

“I would say it is a really secure bet provided each teams are undefeated,” he stated. “The game is its personal factor. In a poor season, this matchup will do properly.”

He predicted about 16 million with the prospective for up to 18 million if it is a thriller.

“It’ll be a tremendous quantity. It’ll do fairly properly if it is close. It is as well excellent of a matchup,” Lewis stated, noting that Fox Sports is poised for a excellent week since it has OSU-UM, a excellent Thanksgiving NFL game (Giants-Cowboys), and two U.S. men’s national group Planet Cup matches.

“Fox has the increasing tide of all these events,” he stated. “It’ll be a large week for Fox.”

Saturday’s showdown most likely will not attain the 2006 quantity since that was a unique era of tv consumption and technologies, and also since the game had wider implications — there was no conference championship game in these days and no playoff method.

“That was a specific occasion,” Lewis stated.

This year’s anticipated higher viewership will be component of a optimistic trend for the sport as the pandemic’s effects additional recede — but are nonetheless complex by the customer-preference trends causing chaos inside the Television business.

“It’s been a excellent year. It is complicated to gauge what is excellent and what is not (for college football on Television) right after the previous couple of years,” Lewis stated. “It’s undoubtedly a lot healthier than the final two years.”

And with the addition of Nielsen audience tracking at bars and restaurants and hotels, and so on., this year’s general viewership will most likely appear far better than pre-pandemic 2019 when the totals are quantity-crunched later this year.

Saturday’s other historic rivalry game, but one particular unlikely to draw an specifically big audience, is the Iron Bowl amongst No. eight Alabama and unranked Auburn at the Crimson Tide’s Bryant-Denny Stadium. It kicks off at three:30 p.m. on CBS.

The 2021 Iron Bowl averaged ten.36 million viewers for its mid-afternoon kickoff on CBS, thanks to it becoming a 4-overtime game won by No. three Alabama (which later went back to No. 1 just before losing to Georgia in the national title game on Jan. ten).

In prime time on Saturday is an additional rivalry game most likely to get some viewership when No. 7 USC hosts No. 18 Notre Dame at 7:30 p.m. on ABC.

On Thanksgiving evening, Mississippi State and No. 14 Ole Miss play their annual Egg Bowl rivalry game at 7 p.m. on ESPN. Ole Miss, ranked No. 9 a year ago, won the final Egg Bowl, 31-21, in 2021. The broadcast averaged two.06 million viewers on ESPN.


Staples’ nonetheless significant Saturday believed: Michigan win more than Ohio State is very best for Large Ten

NFL: Even though meaningful college football rivalry games should really make for a enjoyable Television Saturday, the nation’s most potent sports house — the National Football League — will dominate the airwaves on Thursday with its annual tripleheader of Thanksgiving games.

The schedule:

In 2021, the Raiders’ overtime win more than the Cowboys in the mid-afternoon game delivered 40.eight million viewers, the most for an NFL common-season game considering that a record 41.47 million watched a Giants-49ers game in December 1990.

The old Thanksgiving viewership record had been 38.four million for Dolphins-Cowboys in 1993.

Lewis predicts 42 million for Giants-Cowboys this week, with an outdoors shot at reaching 50 million if it is a excellent game. In today’s Television universe, with cord-cutting and general tv usage down year more than year, that would be a celebratory quantity for Fox and the NFL. But it stems from a decline in a as soon as mighty rivalry.

The annual Giants-Cowboys NFC East divisional games utilised to be common-season marquee matchups, but they haven’t been that way for some time as each franchises have ebbed and flowed in the standings. Now, they’re each 7-three and chasing the 9-1 Eagles atop the division.

That the game is becoming played on Thanksgiving is an indication that the rivalry has fallen off for the wider NFL fanbase, Lewis stated. In the previous, the rivalry games could possibly be scheduled in a portion of the season calendar that could use a small eyeball push, he added.

“It’s lost some juice more than the years,” Lewis stated. The only other time the Giants and Cowboys played on Thanksgiving was a 30-three Dallas victory in 1992 that averaged 33.eight million viewers on CBS, per Sportico.

Thanksgiving usually is the NFL’s greatest viewership day of the common season since most persons are off perform and the games have turn out to be component of a wider cultural tradition for millions — even if they have the Television on only for background noise when arguing at the dinner table.

Such vacation games, not in contrast to the Super Bowl, draw numerous casual and non-fans, and that aids increase the audience totals.

The Lions (coming off a 3-game win streak!) and Cowboys’ turkey day games also try to lure in extra casual fans and prospective fans with halftime musical performances by star acts. In Detroit, it’ll be Bebe Rexha and David Guetta, when Dallas has the Jonas Brothers at halftime.

There’s no such halftime efficiency for NBC’s prime-time game. All 3 networks do strategy to air tributes and other content material all through their Thanksgiving NFL telecasts to commemorate longtime coach, broadcaster, and video game namesake John Madden, who named numerous Thanksgiving Day games and was closely related with the vacation. He died at age 85 on Dec. 28, 2021.

Earlier in the day, NBC will air the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade beginning at noon and then the National Dog Show as component of its conventional vacation lineup — pitting SpongeBob balloons and wiener dogs against its network rivals’ NFL broadcasts.

And these are not trivial audience numbers: The parade averaged 22 million viewers final year when the dog show averaged 11.36 million.

Final year, Chicago’s win more than the Lions on a final-second field target averaged 26.74 million viewers for the early Thanksgiving game on Fox. In prime time, the Bills blowing out the host Saints, 31-six, on NBC averaged 19.37 million viewers.

The Lions have played on Thanksgiving Day considering that relocating from Ohio to Detroit in 1934. Dallas has played on Thanksgiving just about every year considering that 1966 except for 1975 and 1977 when the St. Louis Cardinals have been featured. A third Thanksgiving Day game was added in 2006, which helped placate critics who wanted to see other teams. The prime-time game, which was on the NFL Network till NBC picked it up in 2012, rotates teams from each conferences.

How did final week’s NFL games fare with viewers?

Effectively. Pretty properly.

CBS stated it has averaged 18 million viewers for its Sunday NFL games via Week 11, its very best typical considering that 2015. That was also the year the league set its general viewership typical record for reside games at 18.1 million.

This previous Sunday was led by Cowboys-Vikings and Bengals–Steelers in CBS’ national window averaging 27.54 million, which the network stated was its very best Week 11 window considering that the NFL returned to CBS in 1998. Its regional game window led by Eagles-Colts averaged 15.25 million viewers, its very best November window considering that 2016.

Fox’s single-header Sunday averaged 15.56 million viewers, led by 5 1 p.m. games and Raiders-Broncos later in the day.

Chiefs–Chargers on NBC’s “Sunday Evening Football” averaged 17.88 million.



Planet Cup coverage evaluation: Fox avoids Qatar difficulties, as promised U.S.-Wales delivers

Planet CUP: The quadrennial soccer tournament opened for U.S. fans with Ecuador’s two- win more than host group Qatar with a match that kicked off at 11 a.m. and averaged 7.22 million total U.S. viewers.

That consists of three.22 million watching on FS1 and Fox’s digital platforms, the network stated, which was up 88 % from the 2018 Planet Cup opener (host Russia, five-, more than Saudi Arabia).

NBC-owned Telemundo Deportes’ Spanish-language broadcast of the Qatar-Ecuador match averaged a combined four million U.S. viewers (Telemundo, Peacock and Telemundo Deportes’ digital platforms), which the network stated was up 164 % more than 2018’s opener. That is not surprising considering that U.S. Spanish-language network coverage of soccer, specifically Mexico’s major division Liga MX, is the most-watched fútbol viewership domestically, ahead of the Premier League and MLS.

Qatar-Ecuador on Telemundo (from ten:30 a.m. to 1:15 p.m.) was the most-watched programming in New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Houston, Dallas, and Phoenix on Sunday, the network stated.

Fox and Telemundo (and Canada’s CTV/TSN) have FIFA’s Planet Cup media rights via 2026, when the tournament will be staged across the United States, Mexico and Canada.

Viewership for the U.S.-Wales 1-1 draw on Monday afternoon is not but readily available. There’s usually a two-day turnaround time for final Nielsen numbers plus a network’s digital metrics. (UPDATE: The quantity is now in.)

USA-England is scheduled for two p.m. Friday on the identical channels.

How the United States performs will influence at least some of the viewership for Fox, which paid a reported $400 million for the domestic rights to the 2018 and 2022 Planet Cups. The USMNT failed to qualify for the tournament 4 years ago.

In 2018, France’s Planet Cup final victory more than Croatia averaged 12.five million viewers on Fox, which was a drop-off from the almost 18 million who watched on ABC in 2014 (Germany-Argentina) and almost 16 million in 2010 (Spain-Netherlands). With Telemundo’s U.S. audience baked into the total, the 2018 final averaged 17.eight million domestic viewers, per Sports Media Watch.

This year’s championship final is set for ten a.m. on Dec. 18.

Since the Planet Cup was moved into the fall to steer clear of Qatar’s intense summer time heat, the reside match coverage will face viewership challenges from the NFL, college football and basketball, NBA and NHL. In 2018, when it was played in its regular summer time timeframe, the 64-match Planet Cup averaged two.63 million on Fox and an additional two.02 million viewers for Telemundo.

Complicating the viewership circumstance is every little thing about the tournament. Fox has been criticized in current days for opting to concentrate its coverage on the Planet Cup matches and avoiding or limiting discussion and coverage of the human rights difficulties and other off-pitch difficulties that other media outlets are reporting upon.

Also, my colleague Matt Slater’s column on FIFA honcho Gianni Infantino’s pre-tournament speech on Friday — which Slater brilliantly termed “the most self-absorbed rant considering that Hamlet” — is worth your time.

FIFA booked $7.five billion in income from industrial offers for the 4-year cycle about the 2022 Planet Cup, an improve of $1 billion more than the 2018 tournament, per the New York Instances. The present cycle netted $1 billion in profit.

CFL: Thanks to a blocked field target with 40 seconds left, the Toronto Argonauts beat the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, 24-23, on Sunday to win the Canadian Football League’s 109th Grey Cup. It averaged 158,000 U.S. viewers on ESPN2, up from final year’s 129,000 viewers. In Canada, it averaged three.11 million on English-language TSN networks, which was up from 2021’s record-low two.87 million but down from 2019’s three.68 million, per information supplied by Canadian media analyst Adam Seaborn. Viewership wasn’t but readily available for the game on French-language RDS.

(Photo: Mike Mulholland / Getty Photos)

By Editor

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