The UCF Knights’ dramatic 36-31 win over Boise State Thursday night was watched by 841,000 viewers on ESPN, according to John Ourand of Sports Business Journal:
Sports TV on Thursday— John Ourand (@Ourand_SBJ) September 3, 2021
Ohio State-Minnesota on Fox: 6.295 million viewers
UCF-Boise State on ESPN: 841,000 viewers
PGA Tour Championship on Golf: 730,000 viewers
The number is down from what ESPN usually gets on opening Thursday Night games of the season, where they get anywhere between 1.0-1.6 million viewers. In 2019, for example, UCLA-Cincinnati drew 1.63 million on opening Thursday Night.
However, the Boise State-UCF game had two things go against it that a normal opening Thursday night game on ESPN normally doesn’t: First, the two-hour, 45-minute delay drove away older viewers as the game did not start until 9:45pm ET. And second, they were going up against the Ohio State game, which was a very competitive game on a major broadcast network. Ohio State of course is a proven monster TV draw.
“The Gus Bus was a bumpy ride... but he got us to our destination.”— Black & Gold Banneret (@UCF_Banneret) September 3, 2021
Tune into last night’s episode of #KnightShift
That said, not all is bad from the UCF-Boise State game, as according to Sports Media Buzz, it was the second-most watched cable program of the night for people ages 18-49 demographic, which is the most important demographic in TV.
UCF-Boise State had a 0.25 rating in that demo, behind only FOX News’ “Tucker Carlson Show” which had a 0.27.
UCF will next be on ESPN on Friday night, September 17, at Louisville, which likely will get a bigger TV number than the Boise game — assuming we dont have another three-hour weather delay.