CFB Week 1 TV Ratings: Double-Digit Drop For ESPN Opener


ESPN’s first game of the 2014 college football season declined by double-digits from last year.

The Boise State/Mississippi college football game drew 2.4 million viewers on ESPN Thursday night, down 23% from the network’s opening night doubleheader last year (3.1M).

Of the ten opening night games on ESPN dating back to 2009, Thursday’s game ranks sixth.

Despite the somewhat middling numbers, the game was easily the top sporting event of the night — crushing NFL preseason action on NFL Network by 97% (2.4M to 1.2M). Viewership figures were not available for the opening night games on SEC Network and Fox Sports 1.

Viewership For CFB Opening Night on ESPN

Past five years
Year Date Time Game Vwrs.
2014 Thu., 8/28/14 8:00 PM Boise State/Mississippi 2.42M
2013 Thu., 8/29/13 6:00 PM UNC/South Carolina 3.65M
9:15 PM Mississippi/Vanderbilt 2.74M
2012 Thu., 8/30/12 7:00 PM So. Carolina/Vanderbilt 4.13M
10:15 PM Washington State/BYU 2.19M
2011 Thu., 8/31/11 8:00 PM UNLV/Wisconsin 1.94M
2010 Thu., 9/2/10 7:30 PM So. Miss/South Carolina 2.51M
11:00 PM Southern Cal/Hawaii 2.13M
2009 Thu., 9/3/09 7:00 PM South Carolina/N.C. State 3.26M
10:00 PM Oregon State/Boise State 3.86M

(Thu. numbers from TV By the Numbers)

  • Thomas Brown

    Try to give us some audience numbers, at least, on SEC Network never mind that Nielsen is rating the wildly popular new channel. Certainly, we know what the audience was for Georgia Bulldogs vs Clemson Tigers Prime Time Saturday Night Opening Day on main ESPN Channel, and just as certainly someone such as yourself knows what the audience was for Texas A & M’s Kenny Hill beating South Carolina there in Columbia on SEC Network.

    Thank you. I will keep searching Google for someone who can say something meaningful about audience on SEC Network. Clearly, if there was any Top Sporting Event on TV Thursday Night, it was Texas A & M’s Kenny Hill performance.

    • Paulsen

      SEC Network will not be rated this season, so it is likely that no information on any of its telecasts will be available.