Michigan-Utah draws top rating for Fox Sports 1 – Detroit Free Press
Fox Sports wanted to make its season-opening game a spectacle and put all its efforts into promoting Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh’s return to college coachingÂ Thursday at Utah.
There was a bus dressed up like him, khaki pants and all,Â with five Michigan students on board, also dressed like him,Â roaming the country the past two weeks.
There was a pregame show centered around him with a long interview, conducted by analyst Dave Wannstedt, one of Harbaugh’s former coaches.
There were ads of all types, blanketing the landscape, all in the manner of promotion for ratings.Â (Or to try to impress the Big Ten in the loomingÂ rights negotiations.)
But the first overnight ratings are in for Utah’s 24-17 win over U-M,Â and it was a landmark for Fox Sports 1.
According to Fox, the game posted a 1.73 Nielsen household rating (2.868 million viewers),Â Fox Sports 1’s biggest college football number in its brief history.
FS1’s previous record was a 2013 game between Oregon and rival Oregon State, which drew 2.179 million viewers (a 1.35 rating).
But going against the behemoth ESPN, it wasn’t quite the same impact as ESPN’s primary game from the night, North Carolina-South Carolina, which earned a 2.1 rating.Â That ties ESPN’s fifth-highest Thursday night opener in the past decade or so.
A blog called sportstvratings.com posted more details, placing the U-M game as the second-most watched of the night,Â behind the UNC-SC game, which had 3.6 million with its game concluding within East Coast primetime (5:54-8:19 p.m.). U-M’s game ran from 8:29-11:50 p.m. Eastern time.