TV Pac-12 Ranking Data: Oregon, USC, Washington Generate Top Rated Games


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The regular season has ended, the data has been compiled and the eyeballs have been counted. The Pac-12 performed exactly as well in the ratings game as you’d expect: not significantly better or worse than in previous years.

At least by the standard applied here on the Hotline.

The conference played in five games that drew at least 4 million viewers during the 2021 regular season, according to audience data pulled from the SportsMediaWatch database.

(Why 4 million? Because in our opinion, that threshold separates Pac-12 games with ocean-to-coast resonance from those with only a strong regional appeal.)

This total is significantly higher than the conference’s performance in 2019 and comparable to the number of games of 4 million viewers it generated in 2018.

We didn’t even care about last season, which was unique in many ways: from the delayed start and wave of cancellations to adjusted kick-off times and the wide impact of COVID on the audience all through. long sport.

Here are the regular season Pac-12 games that have attracted at least 4 million viewers in the past five (normal) years.

2016
7.9 million: USC vs. Alabama
5.7 million: Washington vs. Colorado (champion Pac-12 game)
5.7 million: Notre-Dame at USC
4.3 million: USC in Washington
4.2 million: Oregon v Nebraska

2017
5.3 million: Notre-Dame de Stanford
4.9 million: Texas at USC
4.0 million: UCLA to USC

2018
7.7 million: Notre-Dame at USC
5.3 million: Washington vs. Auburn
4.2 million: Stanford in Oregon
4.1 million: Washington in Washington state
4.1 million: Washington vs. Utah (champion Pac-12 game)

2019
6.9 million: Oregon vs. Auburn
5.9 million: Oregon vs. Utah (champion Pac-12 game)
4.1 million: Oregon to Arizona State

2021
7.7 million: Oregon in the state of Ohio
4.8 million: Oregon vs. Utah
4.7 million: Washington vs. Michigan
4.5 million: Texas A&M vs. Colorado
4.2 million: Utah vs. Oregon (champion Pac-12 game)

Before we get to the team-specific data, a bit of background:

Having five games with at least 4 million viewers doesn’t compare optimally to other Power Five conferences.

For example, the SEC had eight games out of 6 million viewers this season, and the Big Ten had seven. Meanwhile, the Big 12 had three games out of 5 million.

But that’s what we should expect given the population and passion within the Pac-12 footprint and the mediocre level of play in recent years. Fans are watching the games that impact the college football playoffs, and there has been very little of that in the Pac-12 lately.

As for the team numbers …

In those five seasons, the Pac-12 produced 21 games at / over the 4 million mark.

Oregon was involved in eight, followed by USC and Washington with six each, then Utah with four.

The Ducks’ success in the ratings game is a result of their regional and national appeal; their performance in the field, which leads to participation in important games; and their willingness to play renowned non-conference enemies (Auburn and Ohio State).

But the numbers underscore a key point affecting every aspect of Pac-12 football:

Because of their tradition, resources, and brand appeal, USC, Oregon, and Washington are the programs best equipped to be successful.

The conference needs them to be nationally relevant, coherently and simultaneously.


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