The UCF Knights’ heartbreaking loss at Louisville on Friday Night was watched by 1.881 million viewers, according to ShowBuzzDaily.com.
The game was the No. 1 cable TV program for people ages 18-49 with a 0.50 rating, which doubled the viewership from the Boise State game earlier this year (0.25). The game was up 8% from the 2019 Friday doubleheader (North Carolina/Wake Forest and Washington State/Houston) in the same week and was the second-most watched College Football game on cable of the weekend, behind only Georgia-South Carolina’s Saturday night game (2,548,000), according to ESPNPR.
#AUBvsPSU on Saturday Night Football registered 7.6M avg. viewers— ESPN PR (@ESPNPR) September 21, 2021
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Not counting bowl games, since 2006, UCF-Louisville is the second-most watched UCF Football Thursday or Friday regular-season cable telecast, behind only the 2013 classic between UCF and Louisville, which did 2.2 million and is the third-most watched regular season Thursday or Friday game in UCF Football history (the Black Friday 2017 game against South Florida drew 4.7 million viewers on ABC).
Excluding bowl games and conference championship games, it is the 11th-most watched Knights game nationally broadcast and it is the most-watched regular season ESPN exclusive UCF telecast since the 2013 Cardinals game.
The Knights-Cardinals game squashed FS1’s Big Ten game between Illinois and Maryland, which got only 690,000 in game that started at 9pm eastern.
UCF is scheduled to host Louisville in 2022 on Saturday, September 10th. Do not be surprised though, based on TV viewership numbers, if the game gets pushed back a day to Friday night on September 9th. The Louisville game will likely be the most-watched Knights regular season game of 2021, with possibly the only exception being the October 16th game at nationally ranked Cincinnati, depending on the time slot and channel. UCF is scheduled to play again on Friday night on ESPN2 October 22nd, when the Knights host Memphis.
Birmingham Top Market for UCF’s win over Boise State
According to ESPN media relations, UCF’s Thursday Night win over Boise State on September 4th, which garnered 841,000 viewers, had Birmingham as the top local market with a 3.3 local rating, edging out Orlando, which was No. 2 at 3.1.
Birmingham is a one of top local ratings markets for college football, and with Gus Malzahn coaching his first UCF game since his departure from Auburn, it is no surprise they tuned in.
It will be interesting to see how many Auburn fans and people in Birmingham continue to watch Gus and Knights this season. If you were wondering, the most-watched UCF game ever in Birmingham market was the 2018 Peach Bowl when UCF knocked off Gus and Auburn. Birmingham drew a 36.6 rating that day.
UCF Fans Watching McKenzie Milton at FSU?
McKenzie Milton’s debut for Florida State against Notre Dame on Sunday September 5th recorded a 7.1 rating in the Orlando market, which is the 2nd most-watched college football game to date in Orlando as last Saturday’s SEC on CBS game between No. 1 Alabama at No. 11 Florida drew a 10.2 local rating according to CBS PR.
It’s hard to tell how many viewers are Noles fans watching in Orlando, which traditionally has been a strong FSU market, and how many are UCF fans watching Milton. Either way, it is a big number for an opener.
In comparison, since the start of the 2019 season, the most-watched UCF game in the Orlando market was a 5.5 rating at Georgia Tech in the season opener of 2020, well below Saturday’s 7.1.
It is also the most watched Florida State game in Orlando since 2018.