The Texas A&M blog on SBNation, Good Bull Hunting, did some exceptional work here. They compiled all the viewing data from the 2013 college football season, provided by Sports Media Watch, and put it together into a nice little ranking, one by conference and one by individual teams. I’ll let them explain how they took the SMW data into consideration when creating the rankings.
Ratings include only games on ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, and FOX Sports 1. Data for other networks are unavailable (e.g., Big Ten Network, Pac-12 Network, Longhorn Network), and this boosts averages for teams playing on those networks since ratings are generally low (e.g., Michigan on the Big 10 Network and Texas on the Longhorn Network).
Some teams benefit from having a low number of rated games since only their most attractive matchups are picked up by top TV stations (e.g., Northwestern ranked #20 with only 5 rated games due to opponents like Ohio State driving ratings).
Seems pretty straightforward, though I’d prefer to see how the numbers look including the Big Ten Network and Longhorn Network instead of excluding them, especially since the SEC, who dominated this year’s viewing, will begin playing on their own network next season.
The SEC was at the top of the conference list, which is unsurprising since most of the southeast only bothers to properly adjust the foil on their TV antennas on Saturday.
The Big Ten at number two is also unsurprising, considering 1) the relatively large size of the schools in the conference, as well as their sizable alumni bases, and 2) all the major metro areas in Big Ten country (Chicago, Detroit, Milwaukee, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Indianapolis). Plus, winter in the Midwest is so miserable that people don’t mind watching terrible football if it takes their minds off the fact that, regionally, the two leading causes of death between November and February are heart attacks while shoveling snow and suicide.
The top 5 of conferences are rounded out by the ACC, or SEC Lite (though really if you’re putting ACC football on an SEC/Miller beers scale it’s more like SEC 64), the criminally under-watched Pac 12, which no doubt suffered from its location as well as the zero I’m assuming Colorado pulled, and finally the Big 12, which would have placed higher had they not gladly waved goodbye to three of the top 15 viewed teams this year while letting their most popular team play on a channel nobody gets. Though, again, Colorado sort of balances that out a little.
Without further ado, the full rankings:
2013 Conference TV Ratings
2013 Individual Team TV Ratings
[via Good Bull Hunting]