Big Ten Network Football Telecasts Enjoy Ratings Increase in 2009

Dec. 2, 2009

Ratings for Big Ten Network national football telecasts dramatically increased across the board in 2009, based on Nielsen metered-market data. The average for the network’s afternoon telecasts improved by 28 percent over the comparable period last year, while the average ratings for the network’s eight primetime games increased by a whopping 183 percent.

In just its third season on the air, the network averaged a 2.3 household (HH) rating for its 12-week afternoon football window in its nine metered markets.* The rating exceeded all other sports cable networks airing football during the same noon ET time period.

The network also had significant ratings increases for its eight primetime games. In prime time, the network averaged a 1.7 rating in the nine metered markets, 183 percent higher than last year’s rating. Of several key matchups in prime time, the highlight was Iowa’s last-second win at Michigan State on Oct. 24.

The network’s most-viewed football Saturday was Oct. 3 when Michigan-Michigan State and Northwestern’s come-from-behind-win at Purdue averaged a combined 4.7 HH rating in the nine metered markets. That night in prime time, the Ohio State-Indiana game attracted a 4.5 HH rating across the nine markets. In all, the network’s games were the top-rated cable programs in either afternoon or prime time in Detroit, Indianapolis, Columbus, Cleveland and Dayton.

Other key matchups driving the ratings included Purdue’s stunning upset of Ohio State on Oct. 17, Wisconsin’s defeat of Michigan at Camp Randall on Nov. 14 and Northwestern’s dramatic victory over Wisconsin on Nov. 21.

In addition, the network’s post-game shows in both the afternoon and in prime time also showed ratings increases, with the Saturday Wrap-Up show up 20 percent and the Wrap-Up following the primetime games up 163 percent.

“These season-long ratings show that the Big Ten Network is establishing itself as a top destination for college football fans,” network President Mark Silverman said. “We look forward to carrying this momentum into the Big Ten basketball season, with the network airing two-thirds of all conference games.”



The network’s final game telecast of the season is at 12:30 PM ET on Saturday when Illinois hosts Fresno State.

*Source: Nielsen Arianna Overnights. Metered Markets: Chicago, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Detroit, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Minneapolis and Pittsburgh.

About the Big Ten Network: The Big Ten Network is the first internationally distributed network dedicated to covering one of the premier collegiate conferences in the country. With approximately 350 live events, and nearly all of them in HD, the network is the ultimate destination for Big Ten fans and alumni across the country, allowing them to see their favorite teams, regardless of where they live. The network operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, showcasing a wide array of classic-to-current sports and televising more Olympic sporting events and women’s sports than has ever been aired on any other network. Original programming highlights activities and accomplishments of some of the nation’s finest universities. Each year, the network offers between 35 and 40 football games, 105 regular season men’s basketball games; 55 women’s basketball games; dozens of Big Ten Championship events; studio shows; coaches’ shows; and classic games. Available to all cable and satellite providers nationwide and in Canada, the network currently has agreements with more than 300 affiliates, including AT&T U-Verse, Atlantic Broadband, Cablevision, Charter, Comcast, Cox (Cleveland, Arizona, Arkansas, Kansas, Omaha), DirecTV, DISH Network, Insight, Mediacom, Rogers Cable (Canada), Shaw Cable and Shaw Direct (Canada), Time Warner Cable and Verizon FiOS. For updated information on the Big Ten Network, go to