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Sunday, February 25, 2024
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At Least There’s No Debating College Football’s Most-watched Team

  • Alabama was the most-watched college football team in 2023.
  • However, Michigan Ohio-State was still the most-watched game.
Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports

College football heads into the heart of bowl season this weekend as postseason matchups attract tens of millions of eyeballs during the holiday break. Looking back on the 2023 season, a few teams and games brought fans to the television more than the rest.

With most major viewership metrics now available (largely thanks to data from Sports Media Watch), the results confirm that fans continue to want to watch blue-blood programs and rivalries the most.

While Michigan’s 30-24 victory over Ohio State was the most-watched game of the season, Alabama was actually the most-watched team. The Crimson Tide averaged 7.12 million viewers per game, according to a list tallied by the Action Network. The Top 10 teams included three from the SEC, two each from the Big Ten and Pac-12, one each from the ACC and Big 12, and Notre Dame:

  • Alabama 7.12M (11 games)
  • Ohio State 6.05M (11)
  • Colorado 6M (9)
  • Georgia 5.9M (11)
  • Michigan 5.61M (12)
  • Tennessee 4.57M (7)
  • Oregon 4.43M (10)
  • Texas 4.26M (12)
  • Florida State 4.16M (12)
  • Notre Dame 4.15M (10)

The outlier here is Colorado, which was thrust into the national spotlight thanks to first-year head coach Deion Sanders. The Buffaloes had the third- and seventh-most-watched games of the season, according to Football Scoop:

  • Ohio State-Michigan: 19.07M (Fox)
  • Georgia-Alabama (SEC Championship): 17.52M (CBS)
  • Colorado-Oregon: 10.03M (ABC)
  • Michigan-Iowa (Big Ten Championship): 10.02 million (Fox)
  • Ohio State-Notre Dame: 9.98M (NBC)
  • Penn State-Ohio State: 9.96M (Fox)
  • Colorado State-Colorado: 9.3M (ESPN)
  • Oregon-Washington (Pac-12 Championship): 9.25M (ABC)
  • LSU-Florida State: 9.17M (ABC)
  • Michigan-Penn State: 9.16M (Fox)

Last year, non-College Football Playoff bowl games averaged just over 3 million viewers. Both CFP semifinal games drew more than 20 million, while the national championship garnered 17 million.

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