The numbers are out and many people have decided to tune in to last weekend’s episode of ESPN’s College GameDay from the Penn State campus. Whether it’s Penn State or not, Penn State hosted the most watched College GameDay since the final week of the 2019 regular season.
According to ESPN, CollegeGameDay’s audience grew 84% from 2020 and 7% from 2019. It was also the best Week 3 for the iconic traveling pre-game show since 2016, and the Last Hour delivered the best numbers for the last hour of the show since 2019.
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Now, it doesn’t take much to figure out why the numbers are so much higher than they were a year ago. At this time last year, not all conferences were even playing college football. The Big Ten and Pac-12 (and MAC and Mountain West Conference) had yet to start playing games, leaving the audiences of most of these uninspiring fans to tune in.
As for the game itself, Penn State’s victory over Auburn was the second most-watched game of the weekend on all networks covering college football. CBS took first place with its SEC Game of the Week between Alabama and Florida in the mid-afternoon time slot. According to a CBS press release, a an average of 7.863 million watched the Alabama-Florida game. ESPN claims an average of 7.6 million people tuned in to the Penn State-Auburn game.
ESPN will be rolling the national spotlight again in two weeks with another prime-time game at Happy Valley. Penn State’s Big Ten game with Indiana on October 2 was confirmed to kick off at 7:30 p.m. ET on ABC. We won’t expect to see College GameDay make a trip home for this game, and the game’s numbers may struggle to break through the bar set by the Auburn game, but any opportunity in the domestic spotlight is up for grabs.