The Florida Gators took a hit while in Death Valley, but ESPN did not. According to Derek Volner from ESPN, the “Saturday Night telecast of the Gators-Tigers (8 p.m. ET) averaged 6,450,000 viewers, ESPN’s most-watched game in nearly two years – including standalone, Labor Day night telecasts and this season’s Week 0 coverage. For October games, the audience was among ESPN’s five best on record, dating back to 1994.” He provided additional highlights below:
- Second Half Surge: The audience peaked at 7,428,000 viewers in the second half (10:45-11 p.m.).
- Significant Growth: ESPN was up 70% year-over-year from last year’s similar window (Missouri at Alabama).
- Leading the Way in the SEC: Gators-Tigers was the most-watched SEC game of Week 7 among all networks.
- Tigers Win on the Field, ESPN Wins in Television: In addition to being the most-watched primetime football game, the audience was the best among all sports on Saturday night. The result was ESPN “Winning the Night” among viewers and all key male, adult, and female demos.
- Combining Week 0 (Aug. 24), ESPN’s networks have ‘Won the Night’ seven of the last eight Saturday nights.
- Factoring in the entire five-day Kickoff Weekend (Aug. 29 – Sept. 2), college football has led ESPN’s nets to “Win the Night” nine times this season.