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Sunday, May 19, 2024

SWAC Football Championship Sees Highest Ever Viewership

  • 391,000 watched Deion Sanders' Jackson State defeat Southern on ESPN2.
  • The Worldwide Leader showed all but one of Jackson State’s 2022 games on ESPN.
Deion Sanders walks between players during football practice at Jackson State
Barbara Gauntt / USA TODAY NETWORK

Deion and Shedeur Sanders delivered one final gift to Jackson State and the Southwestern Athletic Conference before their high-profile move to Colorado.

Saturday’s SWAC Championship Game, a 43-24 victory for JSU over Southern, was watched by 391,000 people on ESPN2 — the highest viewership for the conference’s title game on record.

ESPN continued the momentum from a very strong regular season, as broadcasts across the company’s family of networks averaged a combined 2.1 million viewers — the highest mark in five years.

The Worldwide Leader showed all but one of Jackson State’s 2022 games on ESPN.

In 2021, ESPN Events reached a six-year agreement to keep putting on both the MEAC/SWAC Challenge and the Celebration Bowl — which will be contested between JSU and North Carolina Central on Dec. 17.

Folsom Field has never hosted a sellout spring game.

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Deion will have to pay Jackson State $300,000 for leaving prior to the end of his contract there — but the brief Sanders era will prove to be a fruitful one for the HBCU.

The Sanders family led the Tigers to two straight SWAC titles and went undefeated in 2022. The duo’s high-profile nature also led to NIL deals for several JSU athletes — and even a visit from ESPN’s “College GameDay.”

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