Not surprisingly, Saturday’s Notre Dame game on ESPN was a significantly better draw than the team’s opener on NBC.
ESPN earned a 4.5 U.S. rating and 7.541 million viewers for Notre Dame/Michigan on Saturday, up 7% in ratings and 6% in viewership from last year (PSU/ALA: 4.2, 7.124M), but down 29% in both measures compared to 2009 (USC/OSU: 6.3, 10.586M).
Michigan’s win ranks as the second-most viewed college football game of the young season, behind only Oregon/LSU in Week 1 (7.751M, ABC).
Last year’s game between Notre Dame and Michigan, which aired on NBC in the afternoon, drew a 4.5 and 6.973 million viewers.
One week earlier, Notre Dame’s opener against South Florida drew a 2.1 final rating and 3.249 million viewers on NBC, down a tick in ratings and 1% in viewership from last year (PUR/ND: 2.2, 3.289M), and up 62% and 72%, respectively, from 2009 (NEV/ND: 1.3, 1.886M).
The September 3 game was severely hampered by weather delays. NBC’s coverage concluded at 9 PM, with Versus televising the remaining portion.
(Information from Nielsen, TV By the Numbers)