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CBS Sports announced today that Mississippi State vs. LSU from Saturday averaged 4.442 million viewers. This was up 23 percent compared to Alabama vs. Ole Miss, which aired on September 28th last year and averaged 3.607 million viewers.
Mississippi State-LSU peaked at 6.066 million viewers.
The 4.442 million number is the biggest viewership total for any college football game on any network this season, which isn’t altogether surprising considering this was the first week of the SEC, which traditionally gets the biggest ratings. The Big Ten, which is second in viewership, has not started yet.
Nonetheless, this is a big win for CBS because the 23 percent year-over-year increase likely eclipses the benefit they get from out-of-home viewership. As leagues like the NBA and NHL see viewership declines for their out-of-season playoff matchups, so far the SEC holds strong.
Last year, LSU vs. Mississippi State, which aired October 19th on CBS, did 3.86 million viewers, so the early indication is that Mike Leach and the air raid offense will be a solid TV draw.