ESPN’s day-long schedule of special programming and exciting game action Saturday, Dec. 9, led to numerous viewership highlights across ESPN’s vast sports portfolio, including averaging 1,266,000 viewers throughout the day (9 a.m. – 11:41 p.m. ET) and airing cable’s two most-watched programs for men 18-34 and 18-49.
College GameDay Built by The Home Depot began the remote programming as the premier college football pregame show was live in Philadelphia for Army-Navy to celebrate one of the sport’s most-unique matchups. ESPN’s day continued with a men’s college basketball doubleheader (including Boston College’s upset of then-No. 1 Duke), the MLS Cup won by Toronto and the Heisman Trophy presentation before concluding with a Top Rank boxing card from The Theatre at Madison Square Garden, highlighted by the WBO Junior Lightweight title.
“ESPN’s day-long lineup of top-level programming – a mix of college and professional sports with studio shows, premiere live events and special programming – represents ESPN at its best,” said Burke Magnus, ESPN executive vice president, programming and scheduling. “No other network has the variety of marquee programming of ESPN.”
College GameDay (9 a.m. – noon): With 1,063,000 viewers, it was the most-watched Army-Navy College GameDay in the four years the show has gone to the annual game.
Duke at Boston College and Indiana at Louisville (noon – 4 p.m.): The network’s two-most watched Saturday college basketball games of the season, as 1,378,000 viewers watched the Eagles upset the Blue Devils (12 p.m.) and 1,332,000 viewers watched the Cardinals defeat the Hoosiers (2 p.m.).
MLS Cup (4 p.m. – 7 p.m.): ESPN increased is audience to 803,000 viewers, a 20% jump from 2015 – the last time it aired the event – as Toronto claimed the championship 2-0 over Seattle. The game capped the network’s most-viewed MLS playoffs since 2014.
Heisman Trophy Presentation (8 p.m. – 9 p.m.): The show averaged 2,175,000 total viewers and among men 18-34 and men 18-49, it was the second most-watched cable program of the day, trailing only ESPN’s Top Rank Boxing telecast.
Top Rank Boxing (9 p.m. – 11:45 p.m.): Live from The Theatre at Madison Square Garden, the near-three hour premier boxing event – highlighted by for the WBO Junior Lightweight Championship – posted an average of 1,730,00 viewers, cable’s second most-watched boxing telecast in 2017. The featured bout saw Vasiliy Lomachenko defeating Guillermo Rigondeaux for the WBO Junior Lightweight Championship via a sixth-round TKO.
Times for live events are approximate.