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Coach Prime, Colorado OT thriller help ESPN to near-record ratings

Millions of people tuned in to ESPN on Saturday to see if Deion Sanders' Colorado Buffaloes could stay undefeated this season.
Coach Prime, Colorado OT thriller help ESPN to near-record ratings
Posted at 10:46 AM, Sep 19, 2023

Deion Sanders' debut season has been a hit on television, and ESPN was able to capitalize. After Fox had rights to Colorado's first two games in its "Big Noon" window, ESPN had its first opportunity to cash in on Coach Prime Mania. 

According to data released by ESPN, Saturday's matchup between Colorado and Colorado State was the fifth most-watched college football game in ESPN history. It also was the most watched late-night college football game the network has ever aired. 

ESPN said the game was the network's most-streamed regular season college football game ever.

The game, which kicked after 10 p.m. ET on Saturday, garnered an average of 9.3 million viewers. The game peaked with 11.1 million viewers at 11 p.m. ET.

SEE MORE: Coach Prime gifts sunglasses to Buffs, 'First Take' cast after CSU jab

The matchup came after days of buildup by ESPN. With few marquee college football matchups last Saturday, College Gameday visited Boulder. 

The game turned into a thriller with Colorado rallying late to win in overtime 43-35.

Colorado's first two contests provided huge ratings for Fox. The Buffaloes' regular-season opener against TCU garnered over 7.2 million viewers, making it the most-watched telecast of the day. 

Colorado's Week 2 matchup against Nebraska grabbed 8.73 million viewers and marked Fox's most-watched broadcast ever involving a Pac-12 team. It was also the 10th most-watched college football game ever aired by Fox.

ABC Sports, whose telecasts are produced by ESPN, will air Colorado's next broadcast, a 3:30 p.m. ET kickoff Saturday at No. 10-ranked Oregon. 

While Colorado is off to a surprising 3-0 start after winning just one game a year ago, the odds are stacked against Sanders' squad this week. Colorado enters its game at Oregon as a 21-point underdog, according to Draft Kings. 

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