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Texas-Alabama Barely Tops Nebraska-Colorado in Viewing Battle

  • Pat McAfee’s alternate game broadcast on ESPN2 was a factor in Texas-Alabama viewership passing Nebraska-Colorado.
  • Pregame shows for both ESPN and Fox will air from Boulder on Saturday for The Rocky Mountain Showdown between Colorado and Colorado State.
Texas-Alabama on ESPN platforms edged out Fox's viewership Nebraska-Colorado.
John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
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ESPN’s Saturday night viewership for Texas vs. Alabama narrowly edged out Deion Sanders’ Colorado home debut against Nebraska on Fox Sports.

Texas-Alabama drew 8.8 million viewers on ESPN platforms, including 799,000 viewers that tuned into “The Pat McAfee Show” alternate broadcast on ESPN2. It was the most-watched alt-cast for McAfee, whose show debuted in 2019 with DAZN before he joined ESPN in May on a multiyear deal that pays him a reported $85 million.

Texas-Alabama peaked at 10.7 million viewers, making it ESPN’s most-watched regular-season college football game since 2015 and the most-watched college football game of the week across all networks. 

Colorado’s Saturday noon ET win over Nebraska scored 8.73 million viewers on Fox, making it the second-most-watched game of the week. When not counting “The Pat McAfee Show” viewers on ESPN2, Nebraska-Colorado beat the 7.9 million viewers that watched ESPN’s main broadcast of Texas-Alabama. 

Fox’s Nebraska-Colorado game is rated as the network’s most-watched Pac-12 regular-season game ever and the 10th most-watched college football game ever on Fox. It was also the second-most-streamed CFB game in Fox Sports history. 

Colorado’s season-opening road win over TCU on Fox drew 7.62 million viewers, ranking as the network’s most-watched Week 1 Big Noon Saturday game ever. 

The Coach Prime effect will see both ESPN’s “College GameDay” pregame show and Fox’s “Big Noon Kickoff” pregame show air from Boulder for Colorado’s Week 3 game against Colorado State, which will air on ESPN. It will mark the first time Fox Sports has ever done its “Big Noon Kickoff” from the site of a game the network isn’t broadcasting, and it will mark the first appearance for “College GameDay” at Folsom Field since 1996.

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