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ESPN/ABC Celebrate Major Growth For College Football

ESPN networks ratings were up from both 2019 and 2020 for ABC, ESPN and ESPN2.

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ESPN Networks have delivered yet another year of solid ratings for their College Football coverage.

ESPN networks were up from both 2019 and 2020, with ABC, ESPN and ESPN2 averaging 1,976,000 viewers, up 19 percent from 2020 and two percent from 2019. 

ABC registered its most-watched season since 2017, averaging 4,042,000 viewers this season, up 25 percent from 2020 and two percent from 2019. ABC also aired the most-viewed game in more Saturday windows (16 of 42) than any other network.

ESPN averaged 1,733,000 viewers in 2021, up 16 percent from 2020 and on par with 2019. ESPN2 experienced its most-watched season since 2018, up 65 percent from 2020 and a 27 percent increase from 2019. On average, games on ESPN2 recorded 643,000 viewers this season.

ABC’s Saturday Night Football averaged more than 5 million viewers this season, and was up a drastic 36 percent from 2020 and on par with 2018 and 2019. ESPN networks were the most-viewed network in primetime 11 times this season. ABC’s late afternoon window as well as their noon window also experienced multi-year growth.

College Football studio shows also experienced a great year, as College Gameday averaged 1,880,000 viewers, up 39 percent from 2020. If College GameDay was a game window, it would be the third-most-watched game window on cable, showing a great success as the preeminent pre-game show on cable.

2021 also represented the highest streaming numbers in the history of ESPN. 3.9 billion minutes of live college football games were streamed across ESPN networks, up 37 percent from 2020 and 8 percent from 2019.

All across the board ESPN has to be happy with how 2021 has went in terms of their coverage of College Football.

Sports TV News

FanDuel TV Strikes Deal With ONE Championship Martial Arts

“We’ve long respected the content the ONE Championship team is producing and are looking forward to bringing their action to our audience through FanDuel TV and FanDuel+.”

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FanDuel TV and ONE Championship Martial Arts have struck a deal that will see the MMA, Muay Thai, kickboxing, and submission grappling series air weekly events on the newly launched channel.

“We’re eager to continue expanding the variety of content we’re offering at FanDuel TV to introduce our audience to emerging sports,” said FanDuel Chief Commercial Officer Mike Raffensperger. “We’ve long respected the content the ONE Championship team is producing and are looking forward to bringing their action to our audience through FanDuel TV and FanDuel+.”

ONE Championship is a top-five global sports property for digital viewership and engagement according to Nielsen measurements.

“We are thrilled to join the FanDuel TV lineup and give our passionate U.S. audience yet another way to engage with ONE Championship,” said ONE Championship Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong. “Having a quality partner in FanDuel will help raise the profile of our company in the region and provide their viewers with action-packed martial arts events like they have never seen before.”

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Bob Costas Re-Lives First Announcing Assignment For NBC

“My biography usually says I began with them in 1980, but technically the first time I was on the air with them was in December 1979.”

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Legendary sports broadcaster Bob Costas appeared on KNBR’s Tolbert & Copes Thursday to discuss the death of Baseball Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry. But before the conversation turned to the recently departed pitcher, the show asked Costas about what he has announced that would surprise someone. He reminisced about his first time on the air for NBC.

“My very first assignment for NBC, my biography usually says I began with them in 1980, but technically the first time I was on the air with them was in December 1979,” Costas recounted. “There was a program on NBC then called Sports World. It was an anthology series that was their answer to the gold standard, ABC’s Wide World of Sports.

“So they traveled the globe, like Wide World of Sports did. So they sent me, wearing a red NBC jacket, to Tokyo to cover a sumo wrestling tournament with seven-time world power-lifting champion Larry Pacifico as my color man. Now, this is all the Japanese I learned as we came on the air: ‘Minasan kon’nichwa watashinoamaeha Bob Costas’, which means ‘Hello everyone, my name is Bob Costas’. If ever there was typecasting, when they sat and looked at their roster of announcers and went ‘Who should we send to the sumo wrestling? It’s gotta be Costas, who’s entire body weight would constitute one meal for the sumo wrestling champion.”

Costas departed NBC Sports in 2019 after 40 years with the network, announcing MLB, NBA, and the Olympics, in addition to his work with the network’s sumo wrestling coverage.

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Matt Leinart, Alex Smith Make Wager Over Pac-12 Championship Game

“I gotta be honest with you: I’m not that nervous. I know that sounds kind of arrogant and confident.”

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FOX Sports analyst Matt Leinart and ESPN analyst Alex Smith have made a friendly wager over the upcoming Pac-12 Championship Game.

USC, Leinart’s alma mater, is slated to play Utah, where Smith attended, in the game Friday evening on FOX from Las Vegas.

The two agreed to don the other player’s jersey. “At least it will be 11,” Smith said, noting he and Leinart both wore the number during their playing days.

“I gotta be honest with you: I’m not that nervous,” Leinart said when presented with the offer. “I know that sounds kind of arrogant and confident.” Smith jokingly responded by calling USC “Free Agent University”. He added he would overnight Leinart a jersey to ensure he had one if the Utes were victorious.

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