BYU Football TV Ratings For 2020 Season

Sep 29, 2020, 3:58 PM | Updated: Dec 8, 2020, 10:19 pm
BYU Football - Dax Milne - Coastal Carolina...
BYU wide receiver Dax Milne competes against Coastal Carolina on December 5th, 2020. (BYU Photo/Jaren Wilkey)
(BYU Photo/Jaren Wilkey)

PROVO, Utah – Here’s your spot for all data on BYU Football and TV ratings during the 2020 college football season.

The Cougars are in the first year of a new seven-year television agreement with ESPN. All but one of BYU’s home football games will be televised on one of ESPN’s networks (ESPN, ESPN2, ABC, ESPNU, ESPNEWS). One home game is also televised by BYU Broadcasting on BYUtv.

Since Kalani Sitake took over as head coach in 2016, BYU has appeared in 37 nationally televised games on ESPN, ABC, ESPN2, CBS, FOX, and NBC. That number doesn’t include games on FS1, CBS Sports Network, ESPNU, BYUtv, and other networks that televise college football.

Every week throughout the 2020 BYU football season, we will update the TV ratings that BYU football games produce on one of the national networks.

2020 BYU Football TV Ratings

  • BYU 55, Navy 3 | ESPN (8 p.m. ET) | 1.145 million household viewers

BYU’s Labor Day night trip to Annapolis to take on the Navy Midshipmen pulled down the lowest-rated Labor Day night ratings for a college football broadcast in over a decade. Stiff competition was taking place as the NBA Playoffs were in action along with Major League Baseball.

  • No. 18 BYU 48, Troy 7 | ESPN (10:15 p.m. ET) | 795,000 household viewers

No. 18 BYU’s shellacking of the Troy Trojans was the lowest-rated game on ESPN’s September 26th slate of games. It was the first game of the 2020 season that ESPN televised in a 10 pm (EDT)/8 p.m. (MDT) window. By comparison to the late-night game on the same weekend in 2019 (September 28th, 2019), the viewership was down significantly. 1.627 million tuned in last year on the same weekend to watch UCLA at Arizona in a game that kicked off at 10:45 pm (EDT).

  • No. 22 BYU 45, Louisiana Tech 14 | ESPN2 (9 p.m. ET) | 505,000 household viewers

BYU’s Friday night tilt with Louisiana Tech pulled down 505,000 households tuning in to the Cougars and Bulldogs. Good for a 0.14 rating and the 70th most viewed cable program on Friday, October 2nd. MLB’s Wild Card Series between the Cardinals and Padres won the night with 2.599 million households.

Landing games on ESPN2 will always see a dip compared to playing on ESPN. Prior to BYU-LA Tech, ESPN’s previous Friday night broadcast was on September 18th when Coastal Carolina hosted Campbell. That game pulled in 509,000 households and was televised on ESPN, not ESPN2.

  • No. 15 BYU 27, UTSA 20 | ESPN2 (3:30 p.m. ET) | 317,000 household viewers

BYU’s lackluster performance against UTSA wasn’t inspiring, but the good thing for the Cougars is that not many people were watching. Only 317,000 household viewers were tuned in to watch BYU defeat UTSA. This was one of the first time’s this season that BYU faced a lot of competition during its television window on the college football slate. Texas-Oklahoma stretched into four overtimes and then there were network college football broadcasts.

  • No. 14 BYU 43, Houston 26 | ESPN Friday (9:30 p.m. ET) | 1.155 million household viewers

BYU’s come-from-behind road win at Houston produced BYU’s biggest television audience to date in 2020 and was the eighth most-viewed cable program on October 16th. Major League Baseball league championship series games were the highest viewed programs on Friday night.

  • No. 12 BYU 52, Texas State 14 | ESPN (10:27 p.m. ET) | 716,000 household viewers

BYU thumped Texas State in a late-night TV window. The Cougars and Bobcats were the ninth most-watched program on cable television for October 24th and the fifth most-watched college football game on a cable station. South Carolina versus LSU in primetime on ESPN was the most-watched cable program of the day (2.430 million household viewers), followed by Indiana’s upset win over Penn State (2.072 million).

  • No. 11 BYU 41, Western Kentucky 10 | ESPN (10:37 p.m. ET) | 788,000 household viewers

BYU delivered a bigger audience in the same timeslot against WKU on Halloween night than they did against Texas State, the week prior. The Cougars 31-point victory over the Hilltoppers was the third highest-rated college football game on cable for October 31st.

  • No. 9 BYU 51, No. 21 Boise State 17 | FS1 Friday (10 p.m. ET) | 680,000 household viewers

A lot of factors went against this game. Election coverage was still ongoing,  late kickoff, the game was played on FS1 instead of ESPN, and the game wasn’t close. By comparison, the Miami/NC State game played in primetime on ESPN pulled down 1.866 million household viewers. The top 30 cable programs on Friday were election-related programming.

  • No. 8 BYU 66, North Alabama 14 | BYUtv (3 p.m. ET) | Ratings not disclosed

BYUtv does not disclose its ratings.

  • No. 18 Coastal Carolina 22, No. 13 BYU 17 | ESPNU (5:30 p.m. ET) | 1.212 million household viewers

That’s a huge rating for an ESPNU broadcast. Makes you wonder what BYU and Coastal Carolina could have pulled down on an ESPN or ABC. It was the second most-watched college football game on cable for December 5th. With Texas A&M vs. Auburn winning the day with 2.795 million viewers.

Bonus: College GameDay between BYU and Coastal Carolina pulled down 1.393 million household viewers. The fifth-most watched College GameDay broadcast of the 2020 season.

  • No. 18 BYU vs. San Diego State | ESPN2 (10 p.m. ET) | December 12th, 2020

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 p.m., KSL Newsradio). Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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BYU Football TV Ratings For 2020 Season