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ABC enjoyed record ratings for college football this fall, more than making up for a very slight dip in ratings from its cable overlords at ESPN. Over the course of the season, ABC was up over 7% from last year, averaging 6.25 million viewers. It's largest audience came for the thriller between Texas and Texas Tech, a game that Longhorns fans will be trying to forget decades from now.
ESPN saw a slight decrease in viewers, down 3% from last year, while sibling ESPN2 was up slightly with just a .5% increase. Given the glut of games across the WWLS and its corporate family, I have to believe the suits in Bristol are happy with these numbers, as they show the continuing ability of college football to deliver solid audience numbers in an era when few TV properties can claim to do that.
CBS numbers for its SEC broadcasts were down 4.7 percent, averaging 5.1 million viewers, led by the nation's most watched game, with 15.1 viewers, the SEC Championship Game. CBS should be a bit concerned since slippage of this magnitude in a highly competitive SEC season may show that some of the bloom is coming off the SEC magnolia.
Unfortunately for the rest of the world, the same cannot be said of Notre Dame. No matter how poor a product that Crewcut puts on the field, golden domers around the country tune in by the millions. NBC's ratings for ND games were up a spectacular 21.3% this season. No wonder NBC reupped its contract. That also explains the otherwise unjustifiable bid to the Hawai'i Bowl.