FS1’s highly-anticipated season-opening primetime showdown between Michigan, led by first-year head coach Jim Harbaugh, and Utah last night lived up to the hype as the channel set new audience records for its college football coverage.
The Utes’ 24-17 victory over the visiting Wolverines is the highest-rated and most-watched college football game on FS1 since its launch in 2013, posting a 1.73 household rating, with 2.868 million viewers, according to figures released today by Nielsen.
Previously, FS1’s top-rated college football game was a Big 12 matchup between Oklahoma and Baylor, which posted a 1.35 HH rating, on 11/7/13. Prior to last night’s game, FS1’s most-watched college football telecast had been the Pac-12 Civil War tussle between Oregon State and Oregon on 11/29/13 (2.179 million). The Michigan-Utah rating (1.73) exceeded FS1’s previous college football record (1.35) by +28%, while the audience was up +32% compared to the channel’s prior mark (2.868 million vs. 2.179 million). FS1 ratings records were also set locally last night in Detroit (14.77) and Salt Lake City (13.1).
In addition to FS1’s record-setting rating in Detroit, it was a significant night for FOX Sports in the market on a broader scale. In prime time, FS1, FOX Sports Detroit and FOX2, the local FOX broadcast network station, combined to capture a huge 39 share in the market. While FS1 carried Michigan-Utah, the Royals and Tigers aired on FOX Sports Detroit and the Bills-Lions NFL preseason contest was broadcast on FOX2.
– Up +518% in rating over last year’s FS1 season-opener, Rutgers-Washington State (.28), and +628% in audience (2.868 million vs. 394,000)
– The audience peaked with 3.416 million viewers in the 9:45-10:00 PM ET quarter hour
– The game is the highest-rated, most-watched event on FS1 since the NASCAR Sprint Cup race from Sonoma on 6/28/15
– Michigan-Utah is the most-streamed college football telecast in FOX Sports GO history with 73,000 unique viewers tuning in
FS1’s new college football record kick-starts the channel’s third year, which began on Aug. 18, and continues to build on growth demonstrated in Year 2. Compared to its freshman year, total day viewership on FS1 in Year 2 increased +40%, and +38% in prime time, while audiences for live events grew +54%. More recently, over 70 million viewers have tuned in to FOX Sports channels since Memorial Day to watch its Summer of Soccer, which features over 200 live matches through Labor Day. Between June 1 and Aug. 23, FS1 has more than doubled its primetime audience compared to the same dates a year ago.