Previous ESPN College Football Week 1 Releases:
- 1 Ohio State at Virginia Tech: Best opening weekend game ever on ESPN/ABC, third best regular-season game ever on ESPN and most-streamed regular-season college football game ever on WatchESPN
- 20 Wisconsin vs. No. 3 Alabama: Saturday’s most-watched game, up 34% from 2014’s ABC Saturday Night Football opener
- North Carolina vs. South Carolina: Opening night’s most-watched game
- Viewership soars for Friday night’s doubleheader, games on ESPN, collectively across all networks and on WatchESPN
ESPN began the 2015 college football season by televising the most-watched opening weekend college football game ever on ESPN or ABC when 10,585,000 viewers tuned into No. 1 Ohio State at Virginia Tech (Sept. 7 at 8 p.m. ET), surpassing Boise State vs. Virginia Tech (9,888,000 viewers) on Sept. 6, 2010, both on ESPN. The top five most-viewed opening weekend games:
|1.||10,585,000||Monday, Sept. 7, 2015||ESPN||No. 1 Ohio State at Virginia Tech|
|2.||9,888,000||Monday, Sept. 6, 2010||ESPN||Boise State vs. Virginia Tech|
|3.||9,648,000||Monday, Sept. 5, 2005||ABC||Miami at Florida State|
|4.||9,142,000||Monday, Aug. 31, 1998||ABC||Texas A&M vs. Florida State|
|5.||9,120,000||Monday, Sept. 4, 2006||ESPN||Florida State at Miami|
Records date back to 1990 for ESPN, 1996 for ABC
The audience for the much anticipated Labor Day night matchup was the third most-viewed regular-season college football game ever on ESPN:
|1.||13,529,000||November, 29, 2014||Auburn at Alabama|
|2.||10,586,000||Saturday, Nov. 24, 2012||Notre Dame at USC|
|3.||10,585,000||Monday, Sept. 7, 2015||No. 1 Ohio State at Virginia Tech|
Records date back to 1990
No. 1 Ohio State at Virginia Tech: A Record Breaker for WatchESPN
Additionally, college football’s week one finale was the most-streamed regular-season college football game on WatchESPN of all time. Across all devices, the Ohio State victory had an average minute audience of 194,000 users and a total of 708,000 unique viewers on WatchESPN, accumulating 41,900,000 minutes viewed throughout the game. Each category is an increase from the November, 29, 2014, Iron Bowl featuring Auburn at Alabama — which held the previous best in each category —by 63%, (119,000 users) 49%, (475,000 unique viewers) and 43% (29,300,000 live minutes), respectively.
ABC Saturday Night Football: No. 20 Wisconsin vs. No. 3 Alabama
2015’s premiere of ABC Saturday Night Football featuring No. 20 Wisconsin vs. No. 3 Alabama (Sept. 5 at 8 p.m.) garnered 7,967,000 viewers, the most-watched game on Saturday and the second most-watched game of Week 1 — across all networks. The Crimson Tide’s victory was up 34% in viewership compared to the 2014 ABC Saturday Night Football opener featuring Oklahoma State vs. Florida State (5,955,000 viewers).
Additional ESPN College Football Week 1 Highlights
Between Thursday, Sept. 3, and Monday, Sept. 7, ESPN televised eight games averaging 3,356,000 viewers, up 27% from the seven games which aired during 2014’s opening weekend on ESPN (2,791,000 viewers). Additional highlights include:
- ESPN televised the most-viewed game on Thursday, Sept. 3, when 3,601,000 viewers tuned into North Carolina vs. South Carolina (6 p.m.), which was up 49% from the 2014 Thursday night opener featuring Boise State at Ole Miss (2,418,000 viewers).
- Friday night’s games — 4 Baylor at SMU and Washington at No.23 Boise State – were viewed by 2,003,000 and 2,058,000 people, respectively, up 85% and 115%, respectively, from the 2014 Friday night opening doubleheader featuring BYU at UConn (1,081,000 viewers ) and UNLV at Arizona (955,000 viewers).
- Across ABC, ESPN, and ESPNU, 16 games averaged 2,620,000 viewers in week 1, up 21% (2,174,000 viewers) from the 17 games televised on the same networks, plus ESPN2, last season’s week 1.
Note: Due to US Open coverage, ESPN2 was not utilized in week 1 this season
Record-Setting Opening Weekend for WatchESPN
The record-setting No. 1 Ohio State-Virginia Tech stream on WatchESPN capped off the most-viewed regular-season college football week ever for the product as 2,500,000 unique devices used WatchESPN, totaling 210,000,000 live minutes watched. Both figures represent sharp growth — 55% and 61%, respectively — compared to last season’s opening weekend.
SVP SportsCenter Debuts
Following No.1 Ohio State vs. Virginia Tech, ESPN debuted a new version of SportsCenter featuring Scott Van Pelt (weekdays at midnight). The first episode of #SCSVP (11:30 p.m. – 1 a.m.) averaged 2,155,000 viewers, up 46% from the SportsCenter following the 2014 Labor Day game (1,475,000 viewers).