ESPN Kicks Off 2013 Season with Second Highest-Rated Thursday Night Opening in 15 Years
ESPN kicked off its 2013 college football campaign with the network's second highest-rated and third most-viewed Thursday night season-opening since 1999. The doubleheader of No. 6 South Carolina defeating North Carolina 27-10 at 6 p.m. ET and Ole Miss beating Vanderbilt 39-35 at 9:15 p.m. averaged a 2.1 US rating and 3,135,000 viewers. ESPN's highest-rated season-opening night since 1999 was for a Thursday doubleheader in 2009 (South Carolina at NC State and No. 16 Oregon at No. 14 Boise State) that averaged a 2.3 rating and 3,568,000 viewers.
Each game of last night's doubleheader posted large audiences, led by a 2.4 US rating and 3,653,000 viewers for North Carolina at South Carolina, which went into weather delay in the fourth quarter at approximately 8:45 p.m. ET. The telecast is ESPN's fifth highest-rated and fourth most-viewed Thursday night season-opening game on record (since 1996). ESPN's telecast of Ole Miss at Vanderbilt averaged a 1.9 rating and 2,740,000 viewers.
Birmingham is the highest-rated metered market for ESPN's Thursday doubleheader, averaging a 12.8 rating for both games. Greenville, S.C. is a close second (12.6) followed by Nashville (8.9), Memphis (8.1), Knoxville (7.0), Raleigh-Durham (5.8), Charlotte (5.7), Atlanta (5.4), Greensboro (4.8) and Jacksonville (4.1). The top 10 metered markets for each game of the doubleheader:
· North Carolina at South Carolina: Greenville (19.2), Birmingham (11.6), Charlotte (10.3), Raleigh-Durham (9.9), Greensboro (8.0), Knoxville (7.9), Atlanta (6.3), Jacksonville (5.4), Nashville (5.1), Tampa-St. Pete (4.7) and Memphis (4.7).
· Ole Miss at Vanderbilt: Birmingham (13.6), Nashville (12.0), Memphis (10.7), Greenville (7.6), Knoxville (6.3), Atlanta (4.8), Austin (3.9), Dallas-Fort Worth (3.8), New Orleans (3.7) and Louisville (3.6).