Published on December 1, 2016 by Alex Matthews  

“The Game” Brings in Massive Television and Live-Stream Viewership 

On Saturday November 26th, the #2 Ohio State Buckeyes squared off against the #3 Michigan Wolverines in a double overtime thriller in which the Buckeyes squeaked out a 30-27 victory. With Big Ten conference and national championship hopes on the line, this face-off was clearly the most anticipated game of the year. And America proved it.

By The Numbers 

The game, which aired on ABC at 12 pm, raked in an overnight rating of 10.4, which is the highest overnight rating for any game this season. It is also 50% higher than the second most-watched game of the season (Notre Dame at Texas, 7:30 pm, Sept. 4, ABC). This rating is also up 53% compared to last year’s Michigan-Ohio State matchup. The total television viewership numbers are estimated to be around 16.2 million.

The rating peaked at 12.7 during the overtimes between 3:45-4 pm. “The Game” also set regular season streaming records as the first to surpass one million unique users and a whopping 60 million minutes watched online. Here are the online stats in full:

Viewers of the Ohio State and Michigan Wolverines Game
Viewers in the Average Minute Unique Viewers Total Minutes Watched
279,000 1,273,000 69,661,000 minutes

This matchup was the second-highest rated college football game to ever air on ABC trailing only (you guessed it) the Ohio State-Michigan game from 2006 when the teams were ranked #1 and #2, respectively. The 2006 matchup was dubbed the “Game of the Century,” as Ohio State edged out Michigan 42-39 in a thriller.

Not to mention, Ohio State and Michigan boast insane sponsorship contracts from Nike and Jordan brand respectively. The teams debuted brand new cleats for “The Game,” igniting much buzz on social media.

The Top Viewing Markets

Central Ohio had the most dominant markets with a 43.6 rating in Columbus and a 36.8 in Dayton. Detroit followed at 30.8, along with Cleveland at 30.1 and Cincinnati at 20.5. The sixth highest viewing market was a little surprising: Ft. Myers, Florida at 16.9. Floridians must love good football.

A Deep History

Make no mistake; the Ohio State-Michigan matchup is called “The Game” for a reason. The first meeting dates back to 1897, where Michigan romped Ohio State 34-0. Since then, there have been 112 meetings between the two football powerhouses. Michigan leads the series with 58 wins, 48 losses, and 6 ties; however, Ohio State has a 5-game win streak dating back to 2012.  The series has gone uninterrupted since 1918.

Over the past 40 seasons (since 1976), average attendance hovers around 103,000. This seasons edition of “The Game” accounts for the 16th consecutive meeting with more than 100,000 in attendance. Among the 26 largest attendance numbers in college football history, the Michigan-Ohio State matchup owns 6 of those spots.

No Slowing Down

With two of the hottest names in coaching, Urban Meyer’s Ohio State and Jim Harbaugh’s Michigan will continue to battle as the years go on. While Meyer is well-known for his rock-star swagger and recruiting talent, Harbaugh’s willingness to push boundaries has paid dividends in his own right.

Harbaugh transported his whole team to Florida last spring for a week of practice during Spring Break. He even made a rap video. While the approaches may differ, the results speak for themselves. Ohio State and Michigan are undeniably two of the most talented teams in the country. Time will tell if they will be able to keep up at this pace.

Written by  Alex Matthews
General Editor: Macy Marin


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Elliott, B. (2016, March 10). How Jim Harbaugh turned a regular Michigan practice into a Florida circus. Retrieved November 27, 2016, from

Gaines, C. (2016). A lot of people watched Ohio State beat Michigan in college football. Retrieved November 27, 2016, from

Snyder, M. (2016, November 27). Michigan-Ohio State sets top college football TV rating of season. Retrieved November 27, 2016, from