With all the buzz that surrounded “The Game” in the week leading up to kickoff, it comes as no surprise that pregame viewership was at an all-time high this weekend. ESPN College GameDay was presented from Ohio State last weekend and was the most watched episode of the series since its inception in 1987.
With anticipation and coverage at an all-time high, the flagship college football program for ESPN garnered a total live audience of 2,682,000 on Saturday. The second largest viewership was in 2007, before the show had been expanded to three hours.
There is an element of volume when looking at this data, though.
From 1990-2000, College GameDay ran for only 60 minutes prior to kicking off the weeks action. Then, it was expanded to 90 minutes until 2005. Then, from 2006-2012: two hours. Finally in 2013, the runtime of each episode was expanded to three hours.
Given the level of interest, “The Game” received an extra two hours of airtime this past weekend, making the total runtime approximately 5 hours.
While a five-hour show might seem excessive, it appears to have been the correct decision. While College GameDay set a new mark with its T.V. and streaming viewership, the actual game was watched by nearly 17 million people.
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