The conventional wisdom in college football is that the SEC on CBS package is the perennial ratings winner, however, this year, the Saturday Night Football package on ABC has been the weekly winner. Just only once this season has the SEC on CBS managed to beat out the competition on the ESPN family of networks, NBC and the other outlets that carry college football.
Last night, Ohio State-Wisconsin game which went into overtime resulted in a win for the ESPN on ABC with a 5.6 overnight rating. It marks the 3rd highest college football overnight rating behind Notre Dame at Texas on September 4 with a 7.0 and Louisville at Clemson on October 1 which had a 6.0. The other two games were carried on ABC.
And making an even more impressive win for ABC, it beat all other sporting events on Saturday including the SEC on CBS, the ALCS on TBS, the NLCS on FS1 and the NHL on NBCSN.
Ohio State-Wisconsin’s overnight number was up 60% from last year’s Week 7 primetime game on ABC, Penn State at Ohio State and it peaked with a 7.3 rating when Buckeyes-Badgers went into overtime.
While the rating is not final, that should be known tomorrow, ESPN executives have to be thrilled that the college football ratings are leaning their way after several years of SEC on CBS d0minance.
With about five more weeks to go in the college football season, ESPN is ready to project itself as the overall ratings winner in 2016.