AUSTIN, TX – SEPTEMBER 04: Tyrone Swoopes #18 of the Texas Longhorns dives for the game-winning touchdown in the second overtime against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium on September 4, 2016 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

The overtime thriller that was Notre Dame at Texas on ABC scored with viewers on Sunday. The game which ended with Texas winning 50-47 averaged a TV audience of 10.9 million viewers and a total of 786,000 unique viewers online. So combining the TV and online audience, the game averaged 11.093 million viewers. And it was the most-watched college football game of the weekend.

It also makes Notre Dame-Texas the most-watched opening weekend college football game on ABC over last year’s Ohio State-Virginia Tech game on ESPN which had 10.76 million total viewers.

The streaming audience for Fighting Irish-Longhorns set a new record for one link streaming for ESPN with the aforementioned 786K unique viewers watching 49,000,000 minutes.

Last night’s audience peaked at 13,522 million viewers between 11 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. ET as the game was ending in regulation and heading to overtime. Locally, three of the top-rated four markets were in Texas. Austin was on top with San Antonio placing third and Dallas-Forth Worth in fourth. Here’s how the top 10 markets played out:

1. Austin — 25.4
2. Birmingham — 17.3
3. San Antonio — 15.1
4. Dallas-Fort Worth — 13.1
5. Oklahoma City — 12.8
6. Columbus, OH — 12.7
7. Houston — 11.5
8. Indianapolis — 11.2
9. Knoxville — 11.0
10. Greenville — 10.7

Due to a very strong opening weekend schedule, ESPN/ABC had the top five highest overnight ratings with Notre Dame-Texas (7.0 overnight), USC-Alabama (4.9), LSU-Wisconsin (4.9), Oklahoma-Houston (4.0) and Clemson-Auburn (2.8).

So with the success of the opening weekend, one has to expect that ESPN would plan on doing this again to kickoff the college football season.


About Ken Fang

Ken has been covering the sports media in earnest at his own site, Fang's Bites since May 2007 and at Awful Announcing since March 2013.

He provides a unique perspective having been an award-winning radio news reporter in Providence and having worked in local television.

Fang celebrates the four Boston Red Sox World Championships in the 21st Century, but continues to be a long-suffering Cleveland Browns fan.

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