College Football is finally back, and it came in with a bang this past weekend. With fans packing Doak Campbell Stadium and no other games opposite it, the Florida State Seminoles football game vs. the Notre Dame Fighting Irish Sunday night was a ratings bonanza for ABC/ESPN.
Sunday's thriller between @NDFootball & @FSUFootball on @ABCNetwork averaged . viewers, peaking in OT with . viewers— ESPN PR (@ESPNPR) September 6, 2021
2nd-most-viewed Opening Week Sunday game on record (since 1996)
Up +29% from 2019 (Houston-Oklahoma) pic.twitter.com/sleG9bTKbD
It obviously helped having two of college football’s most iconic programs, but McKenzie Milton’s improbable return, and an overtime thriller resulted in the game capturing 8.8 million viewers at its peak. According to ESPN, the game was the second-most viewed opening week Sunday game on record (since 1996).
Obviously for Florida State, it would’ve been better to get the win, but the way the ‘Noles played (battled), and the close result surely left an impression on quite a few viewers, some of those being coveted high school recruits.
Whether they’re winning national titles, or just kicking off the season, everybody loves to talk about (and watch) the ‘Noles.
9/8 PM UPDATE:
Turns out the numbers were even bigger than initially released from ESPN: