ESPN College GameDay Nov 25, 2023; Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA; Lee Corso puts on a Brutus Buckeye head on the ESPN College Gameday set prior to the NCAA football game between the Michigan Wolverines and the Ohio State Buckeyes at Michigan Stadium.

Despite more competition from Fox and Big Noon Kickoff, ESPN’s College GameDay is still the clubhouse leader in college football pregame shows.

Per a Tuesday release from ESPNCollege GameDay averaged 2.0 million viewers in 2023, a hair below the record audience of 2.1 million last season. The Week 13 episode of the show in Ann Arbor averaged 2.4 million viewers, the sixth-most-watched episode of GameDay ever.

Additionally, Week 3’s episode in Boulder and Week 6’s episode in Dallas both averaged 2.3 million viewers. That Week 3 episode is good for the most-watched episode in September since 2010, and the Week 6 edition was the second-most-watched pre-November episode since 2010.

In a clear shot across the bow at Big Noon Kickoff, ESPN’s release notes that College GameDay‘s final hour viewership was 60% better than “the competition” and 105% better in the 18-49 demographic.

ESPN also mentioned that GameDay visited six different conferences over the season’s 14 weeks, another nod to the cries of bias from the peanut gallery. Duke hosted GameDay for the first time, while three Pac-12 schools departing for greener pastures also hosted GameDay this season. Both Michigan and Ohio State hosted GameDay in 2023, despite the Big Ten’s departure from ESPN.

Ultimately, GameDay showed this year that it’s not afraid to head to a game not airing on an ESPN network, while Big Noon Kickoff typically gravitates to the game airing immediately after the show on Fox (for better or worse). While viewership for Big Noon Kickoff grew this year, providing legitimate competition for College GameDay, the ESPN pregame show consistently drew strong audiences and retained its place at the top of the pregame show hierarchy.

In 2024, College GameDay will kick off the season by heading across the pond to Dublin for Georgia Tech vs Florida State in Week 0.


About Joe Lucia

I hate your favorite team. I also sort of hate most of my favorite teams.