FOX Sports kicked off the 2017 college football season with its most-watched opening week ever, from Thursday, Aug. 31 through Sunday, Sept. 3, posting impressive viewership numbers and overall increases. Highlighting the week, UCLA’s historic comeback over Texas A&M on Sunday drew more than 3 million viewers and is FOX’s most-watched game ever on Labor Day Weekend.
Despite a lopsided score for much of the game, as Texas A&M jumped out to a 44-10 advantage, the FOX broadcast network attracted an average audience of 3,190,000 as Bruins quarterback and Heisman hopeful Josh Rosen pulled the Bruins out of a 34-point deficit. Viewership peaked at 4.382 million viewers from 11:15-11:27 PM ET as Rosen and the Bruins completed the historic comeback and “The Legend of Josh Rosen” was born.
Sunday night’s instant classic provided the exclamation point to a thrilling opening week of college football. With top games featuring the Big Ten, Big 12 and Pac-12 conferences, college football enjoyed its best opening week ever on FOX and FS1 in terms of viewership, with an average audience of 1,522,000 across the networks’ seven games. FOX and FS1 are up a combined +15% over 2015, the last time an opening-week game aired on FOX, while the competition saw year-over-year decreases.
On Saturday, Maryland and Texas provided fireworks of their own, as the Terrapins spoiled the start to the Tom Herman era with a 51-41 win in Austin over the No. 23-ranked Longhorns. In a game that featured two blocked field goals returned for touchdowns, a pick-six and much more, FS1 drew 2,046,000 viewers, making it cable television’s most-watched college football game of the weekend. During a busy day of college football, Maryland-Texas also performed well on FOX Sports GO, with an average minute audience of 34,828, the platform’s second-best performing college football game ever, trailing only Texas-Oklahoma last season (vs. 36,718).
Big Ten football on FOX got off to a strong start on Saturday, as Purdue vs. No. 16 Louisville, played at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, drew 1,792,000 viewers, a +33% increase over the network’s last primetime Labor Day Weekend broadcast (vs. 1,349,000 for Fresno State-USC in 2014).