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UCF's OT Thriller vs. Wichita State Scores Ratings for ESPN

TV Ratings

Hungarian television set from 1959. ORION AT 602 - 1959 by Takkk via CC-BY-SA 3.0
Hungarian television set from 1959. ORION AT 602 - 1959 by Takkk via CC-BY-SA 3.0

UCF's overtime loss at Wichita State on Thursday night was watched by 535,000 viewers on ESPN, which is easily the most watched UCF basketball game of the 2017-2018 season.

The previous high was UCF's loss at Wichita State on January 25th, which had 268,000 viewers on ESPN2. The Wichita State-UCF game will end up as the 5th-most watched American Conference regular season game.

This tells you a couple of things.

First, being on the Mothership, ESPN, is still a big deal. More people watch ESPN than any cable sports network by a wide margin, which includes more viewers and more homes than ESPN2 and ESPNU.

Second, Wichita State is a TV draw for the conference. Consider the top 5 most-watched American Athletic Conference games all include Wichita State, once Sunday's Cincinnati-Wichita State game that aired on CBS with American Conference regular season championship on the line is announced. Wichita State will be in 6 of the top 7 most watched American Athletic Conference regular-season games, with the Februrary 22nd UConn-Cincinnati game being the most watched non-Wichita State game of the season.

Rank Date Game Network Viewers
1 2/30/18 Wichita State at UConn CBS 994,000
2 2/18/18 Wichita State at Cincinnati ESPN 758,000
3 2/24/18 Wichita State at SMU ESPN 591,000
4 3/1/18 Wichita State at UCF ESPN 535,000
5 2/22/18 UConn at Cincinnati ESPN 447,000
6 2/1/18 Wichita State at Temple ESPN2 409,000

So if anyone still questioned Mike Aresco's decision to add Wichita State to The American, guess what: He was right to make the move, as the conference has benefited from adding Wichita State, and UCF has benefited from it by getting an ESPN and ESPN2 game as a result of playing Wichita State, which brought eyeballs to the UCF Basketball program.

While it is uncertain if UCF and Wichita State will play once or twice next year, one thing is for sure: With UCF possibly returning most of this season's team with Aubrey Dawkins, Tacko Fall and BJ Taylor, UCF-Wichita State figures to be a national TV game once again on ESPN, ESPN2, or who knows, maybe CBS.

Speaking of CBS, they will carry the upcoming American Athletic Conference Semifinals and Final at Amway Center on Saturday and Sunday, respectively. CBS' main broadcast team of Jim Nantz, Bill Raftery and Grant Hill will call the action. Adam Amin and John Thompson III will be part of ESPN's early round coverage of The American Tournament. Here below is TV schedule below:

Thursday, March 8th
Time Matchup Network Broadcast Crew
Noon (9) SMU vs. (8)UConn ESPNU Adam Amin & John Thompson III
2 p.m. (5) Memphis vs. (12) USF ESPNU Adam Amin & John Thompson III
7 p.m. (7) Temple vs. (10) Tulane ESPNU Kevin Brown & Mark Adams
9 p.m. (6) UCF vs. (11) East Carolina ESPNU Kevin Brown & Mark Adams

Friday, March 9th
Time Matchup Network Broadcast Crew
Noon (1) Cincinnati vs. UConn/SMU Winner ESPN2 Adam Amin & John Thompson III
2 p.m. (4) Tulsa vs. Memphis/USF Winner ESPN2 Adam Amin & John Thompson III
7 p.m. (2) Wichita St. vs. Temple/Tulane Winner ESPNU Kevin Brown & Mark Adams
9 p.m. (3) Houston vs UCF/ECU Winner ESPNU Kevin Brown & Mark Adams

Saturday, March 10th
Time Matchup Network Broadcast Crew
1 p.m. Semifinal - Winners of Afternoon Sessions CBS Jim Nantz, Bill Raftery, Grant Hill and Tracy Wolfson
3:30 p.m. Semifinal - Winners of Evening Session CBS Jim Nantz, Bill Raftery, Grant Hill and Tracy Wolfson

Sunday, March 11th
Time Matchup Network Broadcast Crew
3:30 p.m. AAC Championship CBS Jim Nantz, Bill Raftery, Grant Hill and Tracy Wolfson