Texas safety Kevin Vaccaro(18) celebrates a sack on Notre Dame quarterback Malik Zaire during a NCAA football game at Darrell K. Royal?Texas Memorial Stadium, Sunday, Sept. 4, 2016. (Stephen Spillman / for American Statesman)


Texas-Notre Dame is most-watched season opener ever on ABC/ESPN

Posted September 5th, 2016


ESPN now has revised its television numbers from Sunday night’s double-overtime thriller of a win with Notre Dame.

According to the network:

Sunday night’s two-overtime thriller between No. 10 Notre Dame and Texas (7:30 p.m. on ABC) delivered a total live audience measurement (TV + Streaming) of 11,093,000 average viewers, the most-watched college football kickoff weekend game on record across all networks*. 


The television audience was measured at 10,899,000 viewers. The streaming accounted for 786,000.


What happens when two tradition rich programs face each other in a dramatic, double overtime game?

Big, big, TV numbers. ESPN described the TV audience watching the Longhorns knock off the Fighting Irish, 50-47, as “massive.”

The game, which was shown in prime time Sunday on ABC , drew an overnight rating of 7.0.

That’s the second-highest rating ever for a season opening telecast by ESPN/ABC. The only other game that was more watched came in 2005, when Miami played Florida State. (That was the year that Texas  last won a national championship).

In addition, Austin was the top market for the game with a rating of 25.4.  That was the highest rating the city has registered for an opening weekend telecast. Five other cities also set records: San Antonio (15.1), Dallas (13.1), Indianapolis (11.2), Albuquerque (7.1), San Diego (6.8) and Philadelphia (6.4).


The game also registered big live-streaming numbers, with 786,000 unique viewers watching the game on ESPN’s app. That was a regular-season record.

These were the top 10 markets overall:

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


ABC/ESPN is drawing incredible numbers for its season opening weekend that will end with tonight’s Florida State-Mississippi game.

The other ratings for the weekend: USC-Alabama (4.9 overnight), LSU-Wisconsin (4.9), Oklahoma-Houston (4.0), and Clemson-Auburn (2.8).


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