Ohio State Notre Dame Sep 23, 2023; South Bend, Indiana, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes running back Chip Trayanum (19) scores the game winning rushing touchdown against Notre Dame Fighting Irish during the fourth quarter of their game at Notre Dame Stadium.

Ohio State’s last-second 17-14 win over Notre Dame hit stunning viewership highs for NBC.

Per a release on Monday, 10.5 million viewers watched the game on NBC, NBC’s digital platforms, and Peacock. That’s good for NBC’s second-most-watched regular season game of all time, and the most-watched since 1993’s “Game of the Century” between Notre Dame and Florida State (which averaged 22 million viewers).

On Peacock, the average minute audience for the game was 605,000, the most-streamed simulcast of an NBC college football game ever.

The overall closeness of the game kept viewers around. Viewership peaked in the 10:30 p.m. quarter hour with 14 million viewers, a pretty surprising result given that the game started three hours earlier.

Pending viewership for Week 4’s other games, this is also the most-watched game of the college football season so far. It’s joined in the top five by Colorado-Colorado State in Week 3 (9.3 million viewers on ESPN), Florida State-LSU in Week 1 (9.17 million on ABC), Texas-Alabama in Week 2 (8.76 million on both ESPN and ESPN2), and Nebraska-Colorado in Week 2 (8.73 million on Fox).

Given that this was a Notre Dame home game, it was part of NBC’s Fighting Irish package, which expires after the 2025 season. Notre Dame is reportedly seeking $75 million annually from a new media rights deal in order to remain independent, and NBC getting a deal done with the Big Ten increases the likelihood that they’ll back up the Brinks truck for Notre Dame.

NBC’s schedule of Notre Dame games this season includes a potentially titanic clash with USC in Week 7, also airing in primetime. That game probably won’t hit the viewership highs NBC saw for the Ohio State game, but it should draw a strong number, assuming a 6-1 Notre Dame team is hosting an unbeaten USC.

[NBC Sports]

About Joe Lucia

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