Men’s College Hoops: Syracuse-Duke ESPN’s Third Most-Viewed Regular-Season Game

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  • Top Men’s College Basketball Game Ever on WatchESPN
  • Top 10 Metered Markets & Records for Buffalo and New York City
  • Significant Viewership Increase for Saturday Primetime
  • Season Audience Growth for ESPN

 The ESPN Saturday Primetime Driven by State Farm telecast of then-No. 2 Syracuse defeating then-No. 17 Duke 91-89 in overtime on February 1 is the network’s third most-viewed regular-season men’s college basketball game on record, averaging 4,745,000 viewers (based on a 2.9 HH US rating which peaked at a 4.4). ESPN’s top two most-viewed men’s hoops games were also part of the Saturday Primetime series and occurred in the 2007-08 season: Tennessee at Memphis on February 23 (5,281,000 viewers) and North Carolina at Duke on March 8 (5,612,000 viewers). 

In addition to a large television audience, the ACC matchup generated 5,600,000 minutes of live viewing and 129,000 unique viewers on WatchESPN, making it the platform’s top men’s college basketball game ever in total minutes viewed and third highest among unique viewers.

 ESPN will televise the second meeting of the season between the ACC teams – which played each other for the first time since the 1998 NCAA Tournament – on February 22. 

Top 10 Metered Markets & Records for Buffalo and New York City
Greensboro was the highest-rated metered market for Duke at Syracuse, averaging a 13.1 rating. Raleigh-Durham was second with an 11.4 rating followed by Louisville (7.8), Richmond (7.2), Greenville (6.9), Buffalo (6.7), Charlotte (6.5), Kansas City (6.4), Dayton (5.7) and Norfolk (5.6).

 The telecast also set records in Buffalo (6.7 local rating) and New York City (2.8 rating), ranking as ESPN’s highest-rated regular-season men’s college hoops game in both markets (records date back to 2002). 

Significant Viewership Increase for Saturday Primetime
ESPN is experiencing significant audience growth through the first three games of the 2014 Saturday Primetime college basketball series over last season at the same point, averaging 3,133,000 viewers and a 1.9 HH US rating for increases of 25 percent (vs. 2,497,000) and 19 percent (vs. 1.6). 

Season Audience Growth for ESPN
Overall, ESPN is posting larger audiences for men’s college basketball games over last season at the same point, averaging 1,504,000 viewers and a 1.0 HH US rating, increases of 16 percent (vs. 1,301,000) and 11 percent (vs. 0.9). 

Champions Classic Delivers Second & Third Most-Viewed Games of the 2013-14 Season
ESPN’s second and third most-viewed games of the season were both from the marquee State Farm Champions Classic doubleheader on November 12.

  • Then-No. 2 Michigan State’s win over then-No. 1 Kentucky averaged 4,002,000 viewers and a 2.6 HH US rating, making it ESPN’s second most-viewed game of the season and the network’s second most-viewed non-conference game ever.
  • Then-No. 5 Kansas upending then-No. 4 Duke averaged 2,977,000 viewers and a 2.1 HH US rating.

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