In a stunning display of clutch time by Montana, who fought til the final whistle blew with North Dakota State last Saturday to edge the Bison 38-35, the premiere game for the FCS brought in the fourth most T.V. visitors amongst sports programming with 981,000. Ahead of the pack, whose grading system was established by Sports TV Rating, was NASCAR’s Xfinity Race (992,000 viewers), Premiere Boxing (1,217,000) and the Steelers/Bills contest (1,710,000).
The Montana/North Dakota State match-up also defeated the likes of several NFL preseason meetings, La Liga fixtures and the Yankees/Braves night game.
The reason for the surge in numbers – particularly for an FCS game – probably lends a hand to the nation’s college football withdrawal and simply some desired a fix. The upset even eclipsed last year’s Eastern Washington/Sam Houston State ratings by two-tenths.
Montana’s Director of Athletics Kent Haslam:
“It was a great result, it was a great atmosphere, it made for great TV, and great drama. It also gave us the chance to showcase the entire university through the lens of a college football game, that no doubt will help our entire institution build our brand world wide.”
Montana’s fan base wasn’t just impacted by viewership, but also affected on the basis of social media – the Grizzlies Facebook page racked in 1.1 million fans, celebrating a bloating in numbers, up 301.3 percent from the previous week.
And while drunk on Facebook numbers, including a ballooning in ‘likes’ (over 8,900), re-posts (over 2,700) and overall accountability (544,400 users), this could also spur a revolution in recruiting for the university thanks to a widespread market presence (Birmingham, AL; Columbus, OH; Nashville, TN; Oklahoma City, OK).