Michigan-Ohio State Game Tops NCAA Ratings This Year

Saturday’s Michigan at Ohio State double-overtime thriller on ABC delivered a total live audience (TV + streaming) of 16,926,000 viewers, making it by far the most-watched college football game this season across all networks.

Ohio State’s 30-27 victory ranks among the most-watched regular season college football games on record, for both ABC and across all networks.

ABC’s TV audience of 16,647,000 viewers is the most watched college football regular season noon ET kickoff across all networks on record and ABC’s second most-viewed game, dating back to 1991. Also, the viewership for the Ohio State victory ranks among the top 5 most-watched regular season games across all networks – which includes conference championship games – on record.

For ABC, it is the most-watched game in more than 10 years when the network aired the 2006 Michigan-Ohio State game which remains the most-watched regular season game the network has ever televised (21,037,000 viewers). At the time of that game, Michigan ranked No. 2 and Ohio State No. 1 in the country and it kicked off at 3:30 p.m. ET.

ESPN also streamed the game on its Watch ESPN app which garnered 279,000 viewers in the average minute with a total of 1,273,000 unique viewers watching 69,661,000 minutes. It was ESPN’s most-streamed regular season college football game ever in all three metrics.

ABC has televised the two most watched college football games this season and four of the top 5. Combined with ESPN, the two networks have aired 7 of the top 10 rated games this season seen below:

Rank TV Viewership Game Date Network
1 16,647,000 Michigan at Ohio State Nov. 26, 2016 ABC
2 10,945,000 Notre Dame at Texas Sept. 4, 2016 ABC
3 10,385,000 Alabama at LSU Nov. 5, 2016 CBS
4 9,286,000 Louisville at Clemson Oct. 1, 2016 ABC
5 8,964,000 Ohio State at Wisconsin Oct. 15, 2016 ABC
6 8,455,000 Texas A&M at Alabama Oct. 22, 2016 CBS
7 8,354,000 Ole Miss vs. Florida State Sept. 5, 2016 ESPN
8 8,169,000 Alabama at Ole Miss Sept. 17, 2016 CBS
9 7,944,000 USC vs. Alabama Sept. 3, 2016 ABC
10 7,832,000 LSU vs. Wisconsin Sept. 3, 2016 ABC

Columbus was the No. 1 market with 43.6 local rating, followed by Dayton (36.8) and Detroit (30.8). The local rating in Detroit is second highest ever for a regular season college football game on any ESPN network. The complete top 10 markets:

Rank Market Local Rating
1 Columbus 43.6
2 Dayton 36.8
3 Detroit 30.8
4 Cleveland 30.1
5 Cincinnati 20.5
6 Ft. Myers 16.9
7 Birmingham 16.7
8 Oklahoma City 14.1
9 Knoxville 13.2
West Palm Beach 13.2