UPDATE: 12:01 AM: Texas’ double-overtime victory over Notre Dame on Sunday drew 11.1 million total viewers on ABC and the ESPN live stream, the highest viewership for a college football kickoff weekend game ever across all networks. It topped last season’s Labor Day night game between Ohio State and Virginia Tech which drew 10.6M total viewers.
PREVIOUS, 10:02 AM: First of all, Happy Labor Day, and secondly, congratulations Texas and ABC. In a 50-47 double-overtime win Sunday night on the Disney-owned network, the Longhorns took down No. 10-ranked Notre Dame in an upset that is only surpassed in many ways by the ratings results. In the 7:30-11 PM slot, last night’s nationally televised college football matchup scored a 3.0/12 among adults 18-49 with 10.46 million total viewers, up 25% from what the fast affiliates had for the regular Saturday game on the network. It easily propelled ABC, which had a Fall Preview Special (1.1/5) at 7 PM, to the top of Sunday with a 2.8/10 rating and an audience of 9.34 million.
Bringing college football to the long weekend Sunday night also tackled some of the regulars. NBC’s 7-11 PM NASCAR Sprint Cup race (0.8/3) crashed hard from last year with a 27% drop in the demo in the early numbers. We’ll likely see adjustments in all the live sports numbers later, but the impact was also felt in viewership, with the race from Darlington, SC, down 23% from 2015 to 4.34 million.
It should be stated that ABC did not air college ball on the comparable Sunday last year. In metered-market results, NBC’s NASCAR coverage pulled in a 2.6/5 ratings – aka a 26% spin-out from last year’s Labor Day weekend eight-year high.
The Texas-Notre Dame game also hit CBS with Big Brother (1.3/6), which declined 35% from its early numbers of August 28 and 38% from its final results of last Sunday. Bookends 60 Minutes (0.6/3) and BrainDead (0.3/1) were down 33% and even, respectively, from last week.
Fox and the CW stayed out of the game last night and were all encores.
And yes, the new season of the NFL starts this week – are you ready?