ESPN and ESPN2 attracted good numbers for the Southeastern Conference debuts of Missouri and Texas A&M.
The Florida/Texas A&M college football game drew a 2.9 U.S. rating and 4.531 million viewers on ESPN Saturday afternoon, up 21% in ratings and 15% in viewership from South Carolina/Georgia in a later timeslot last year (2.4, 3.949M), but down 17% and 21%, respectively, from Miami/Ohio State in 2010 (3.5, 5.752M).
The telecast attracted the second-largest college football audience of the weekend, trailing only regional action on ABC airing at the same time (3.3, 4.709M).
Also Saturday, Georgia/Missouri earned a 2.4 U.S. rating and 4.119 million viewers on ESPN2 — up 85% in ratings and 97% in viewership from BYU/Texas last year (1.3, 2.096M), and up 50% and 52%, respectively, from Oregon/Tennessee in 2010 (1.6, 2.709M).
The 2.4 rating is the third-highest ever for a college football game on ESPN2, trailing only Pittsburgh/West Virginia on a Friday night in 2009 and Tennessee/LSU on a Monday night in 2005 (2.5 for both games). The latter game was rescheduled due to Hurricane Rita.
In addition, the game earned the second-largest audience ever for a college football game on ESPN2, again trailing Pittsburgh/West Virginia (4.137M).
(Saturday’s numbers from ESPN Media Zone)