The Ohio State-Michigan matchup on Saturday was the most-anticipated game of the regular season with both Big Ten conference and national championship implications on the line. While the Buckeyes won the game in double-overtime, the other big winners were ABC and its sister-network, ESPN.
The game, which aired on ABC at noon, pulled in an overnight television rating of 10.4, the highest overnight rating for any game this season, and nearly 50% higher than the second-most-watched game of the season.
That 10.4 rating is the highest-ever recorded for a college football game that kicked off at noon on the east coast, according to ESPN. It is also the second-highest rated college football game ever aired on ABC, trailing only the 2006 Ohio State-Michigan game, when the teams were ranked Nos. 1 and 2, respectively.
In addition, the game was ESPN’s most-streamed, regular-season, college football game ever. According to the network, the stream on ESPN averaged 279,000 viewers per minute and reached 1.3 million unique viewers throughout the broadcast. This was the first regular-season game to ever surpass 1.0 million unique viewers.
The previous most-watched game of the season came back in Week 1 when Texas faced Notre Dame, also on ABC. That game, in prime time, had a 7.0 overnight TV rating. According to the final numbers, Texas’ win was watched by 10.9 million viewers. If that same pattern holds, the Ohio State-Michigan game will have been watched by approximately 16.2 million people.
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