Ohio State at Indiana on Sept. 2, 2023. Sep 2, 2023; Bloomington, Indiana, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback Kyle McCord (6) scrambles away from Indiana Hoosiers linebacker Jacob Mangum-Farrar (7) during the NCAA football game at Indiana University Memorial Stadium. Ohio State won 23-3.

If Saturday’s numbers are any indication, the Big Ten on CBS will be a big hit. In its first game of a new seven-year contract, the CBS telecast of the Ohio State Buckeyes’ 23-3 victory over the Indiana Hoosiers drew very good numbers.

CBS says the game drew an average of 4.646 million viewers, which is up 39% from when the two teams met in Week 11 of last season. Last year’s game between those teams aired on Fox and drew a viewership of 3.34 million.

Even through the game wasn’t a visual masterpiece, CBS has to be pleased with the audience for the Big Ten, which will eventually replace the SEC in 2024. CBS is airing seven Big Ten games this season while fulfilling its final obligations to the SEC.

The Big Ten debut also did well for Paramount+. CBS states that Ohio State-Indiana was its most-streamed Week 1 college football game on the service in terms of the amount of streaming minutes and households.

Compared to last year, Ohio State-Indiana had a huge increase over last year’s Week 1 game on the Tiffany Network. In 2022, CBS aired Arizona at San Diego State in Week 1, and that drew an average audience of 921,000 viewers.

CBS says the game was their most-watched Week 1 game in 25 years. But to add some context, CBS often aired the US Open during Labor Day weekend until 2014.

The Big Ten debut on CBS was the third most-watched college football game of Week 1 and won the 3:30 p.m. ET timeslot.

CBS will have one more Big Ten game in the 3:30 p.m. ET slot this Saturday with UNLV at Michigan. Then the SEC takes over that slot in Week 3.

[CBS Sports Gang on Twitter]

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.