ESPN and ABC Media Platforms See College Football Audience Growth

Categories: Network TV Press Releases

Written By

December 18th, 2008

via press release:


The 2008 college football regular season audience grew across ESPN media platforms, including on ABC,, ESPN Mobile properties and, the broadband television network.


ABC's college football games enjoyed audience increases over last year, led by a significant 22% growth in viewership for the Saturday Night Football Presented by Southwest Airlines series, the only weekly primetime college football series on broadcast television.

The 13 Saturday night telecasts on ABC -- the highest rated and most-viewed college football window on television -- averaged a 4.9 rating, 5,651,000 households and 8,001,000 total viewers for increases of 20 percent (vs. 4.1), 22 percent (vs. 4,644,000) and 24 percent (vs. 6,442,000), respectively, compared to last year.  Additional highlights of the Saturday primetime window include:

  • ABC was the number one network for the night nine times among households and total viewers.  ABC was also the leader on most nights among key demographics:  10 times in adults 18-49 and 25-54; 11 in adults 18-34 and men 18-34 and 18-49; and 12 among men 25-54.
  • The Saturday Night Football telecast of Texas Tech’s 39-33 victory over then-#1 Texas averaged 8,590,000 households based on a 7.5 rating, making it the network’s fifth-most viewed regular-season college football game (and the seventh-highest rated) ever.  It was the most-viewed and highest-rated game of the year on ABC.


Overall, college coverage on ABC averaged a 4.0 rating, 4,598,000 households and 6,274,000 total viewers, marking increases of 3 percent (vs. 3.9), 5 percent (vs. 4,364,000) and 7 percent (vs. 5,860,000), respectively, compared to last year., Online Video and ESPN Mobile:

During the 2008-09 college football regular season, and the ESPN Mobile Web site recorded their most-trafficked year ever for college football content, and fans viewed more college football-related videos on than ever before.’s College Football content outpaced last season’s record-setting traffic, including a 6 percent growth in page views (nearly 885 million) and 5 percent growth in visits (232 million) compared to 2007.  Other traffic highlights include:

  • had the leading share (25%) of average visits on Saturdays to college football content online according to Hitwise;
  • Fans spent an average of nearly 5 minutes per visit with college football content;
  • The 2008-09 Bowl Schedule was the most viewed single page registering more than 2.2 million page views, while the December 2 story USC willing to give up timeout to wear red at UCLAwas the most read single story, generating more than 1 million page views.


ESPN online video continues to engage college football fans, with more than 101 million streams of college football features and highlights on  Highlights from the Oklahoma v. Oklahoma State (11/29) game were the most viewed highlight of the season, followed by Penn State v. Ohio State (10/25) and Texas v. Texas Tech (11/01).  Each accounted for more than 1.1 million streams.

Traffic to college football content on ESPN Mobile Web exploded during the college football regular season, with 59.9 million visits and 185 percent growth in page views (639 million) compared to last year.  Other traffic highlights include:

  • Fans spent more than 7 minutes per visit on average with college football content;
  • Top games included the SEC Championship game (Alabama v. Florida) with 7.5mm page views and Texas v. Texas Tech with 6.7mm page views.


ESPN360:, ESPN's signature 24/7 broadband sports television network, saw tremendous growth during the college football season with nearly 2 million hours consumed, up 236 percent compared to 2007.  Additionally, marquee college football matchups continued to see average viewing times of more than an hour per user.

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