UPDATE: The data are in: 33.4 million viewers. The most-watched cable program of all time.
Tonite marks the culmination of the first top division college football tournament. How big will college football get?
I'd suggest paying attention to the numbers below to get a sense whether its continued financial growth will be really big or really, really big. These are the audience sizes for the top-watched programs ever on US cable networks. Yes, they are all sports events on ESPN.
For comparison, last year's Super Bowl had an audience of 111 million. Last night's NFL playoff games had an estimated audience of 40 million. And last year's NCAA basketball championship had an audience of 21.2 million.
How big will college football be? Tonite TV viewership should help to answer that question.
|1.||01/01/2015||CFB/Sugar Bowl: Alabama-Ohio St.||ESPN||28,271|
|2.||01/01/2015||CFB/Rose Bowl: Oregon-Florida St.||ESPN||28,164|
|3.||01/10/2011||CFB/BCS Champ: Oregon-Auburn||ESPN||27,316|
|4.||01/07/2013||CFB/BCS Champ: Alabama-Notre Dame||ESPN||26,380|
|5.||01/06/2014||CFB/BCS Champ: Florida St.-Auburn||ESPN||25,572|
|6.||01/09/2012||CFB/BCS Champ: Alabama-LSU||ESPN||24,214|
|7.||10/05/2009||NFL MNF: Green Bay-Minnesota||ESPN||21,839|
|8.||01/03/2015||NFL Wild Card: Arizona-Carolina||ESPN||21,678|
|9.||11/30/2009||NFL MNF: New England-New Orleans||ESPN||21,402|
|10.||01/01/2011||CFB/Rose Bowl: TCU-Wisconsin||ESPN||20,558|