Published: Tuesday, September 28, 2021
FAYETTEVILLE — The CBS telecast of Arkansas’ 20-10 victory over Texas A&M was last Saturday’s third-most-watched program on TV.
The game between the Razorbacks and Aggies averaged nearly 4.1 million viewers and had a 2.1 rating, according to figures posted Tuesday at Sports Media Watch.
Rating: Ratings are essentially percentages, measuring the portion of a given group — be it households, adults 18-49 or women 25-54 — watching a given show.
Viewers: The average number of people watching a program in any given minute while it airs.
That is Arkansas’ largest audience for a football game since 2016, when ESPN averaged more than 4.9 million viewers and had a 2.9 rating for the Razorbacks’ 35-24 loss to Virginia Tech in the Belk Bowl.
Last week’s audience was the largest for the Southwest Classic since 2014, when CBS drew an average of nearly 4.4 million viewers for the Aggies’ 35-28 victory in overtime.
The Arkansas-Texas A&M viewership was eclipsed by Fox’s early game between Notre Dame and Wisconsin (5.4 million) and ABC’s primetime game between Oklahoma and West Virginia (4.5 million) last Saturday.
The CBS audience for the Arkansas-Texas A&M game was down from a week earlier when the network averaged nearly 7.9 million viewers for Alabama’s 31-29 win at Florida.
In the same time slot last year, CBS averaged 4.4 million for a game between Mississippi State and LSU on the opening weekend for the SEC.
The Athletic reported earlier this year that games with an audience in excess of 4 million help drive up the cost of media rights when conferences negotiate with TV networks.
Six of the 14 games this year with an average viewership of at least 4 million have involved SEC teams. Two other games have included Oklahoma, which will move to the SEC by 2025.
All 14 games have been aired on network TV — CBS, ABC or Fox. With an average of 3.4 million, ESPN’s telecast of Arkansas’ 40-21 victory over Texas on Sept. 11 is the largest this year on cable.