ESPN (And College Football) Owns Cable Television


Sports Media Watch today, released a list of the most watched cable television programs of all-time.  Four of these ten programs aired on ESPN IN THE PAST TWO WEEKS!  All four ESPN programs were football games by the way, and three of them were the first three College Football Playoff games.

This list tells us a lot:

  • It tells us that football is still king in America
  • It lets us know that college football might have surpassed(or at least be in the midst of surpassing) the NFL as most popular with Americans. Also note the first seven top-viewed cable programs are passed college football games.
  • It also tells us that cable TV needs sports to survive.

In an age when shows, documentaries and other special programs can be accessed in bed, on an airplane and on devices as small as business card, people in this great country are preferring convenient and commercial free programing that they can ‘gorge’ themselves with and binge watch until they’ve had their fill.  Cable, which by some is categorized as ‘archaic,’ is struggling.  Advertisers are jumping ship to online programming, by making subscription prgrams ad-free, fitting product placement into online shows and sponsoring subscription packages.  The only programing that keeps you on the couch, in front of you TV and is free from commercial skipping(with DVR), is sports.  With the technology we have these days, you must watch sports live, or it will be too late.

Sports are DVR proof.

Clearly the NCAA and ESPN made a great move with a 12-year, $7.3 billion College Football Playoff agreement and are reaping the benefits of such high viewership.  This collegiate/media conglomerate now owns the top-three highest viewed programs ever.  That is a ‘more than special’ feat to boast to potential advertisers that could make these 2016 CFP ad packages bigger than the Super Bowl next year.

Potentially the most important thing these ratings may do, is impact college football as a whole.  With a three game, four-team sample size being a gamble that paid off big time, it may be a no-brainer for executives for the CFP and ESPN to move to an eight-team playoff.  As soon as possible.  Fine with me…


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