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BYU Football Victory Over Baylor Drew Huge Late-Night TV Ratings

Sep 13, 2022, 1:10 PM
BYU Football, Baylor, Big 12...
The BYU football win over Baylor delivered ESPN's highest-rated late-night Saturday game in six years. (Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News)
(Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News)

PROVO, Utah – The Big 12 Conference has to be excited about the tv ratings from the BYU football win over Baylor.

On Tuesday, ESPN announced that the Top 25 clash between the two future Big 12 foes delivered an audience of 2.4 million viewers.

That was ESPN’s largest late-night (8 p.m. MT or later) Saturday game in six years.

BYU defeated Baylor 26-20 in double-overtime. It was BYU’s first victory over a Top 10 team in Provo since the Cougars defeated No. 1 Miami in 1990.

BYU football fans are energized entering Big 12

A lot has been made that the Big 12 Conference can’t deliver a big television audience after the departures of Texas and Oklahoma. Of course, no one will argue that BYU or the three AAC teams (UCF, Cincinnati, and Houston) will draw more eyeballs than the Longhorns or Sooners. But there’s potential to get bigger ratings than forecasters would project because these new additions have fan bases that are thrilled to be in a Power Five league.

Former Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby had high praise of BYU’s reach before he went off into retirement.

“I think BYU is perhaps –with the exception of Notre Dame– they have the biggest worldwide reach of any university in the country. And have been a traditional power, played perennially in the Top 25 in football,” said Bowlsby.

Landing 2.4 million viewers is proof of that.

Big 12 is currently discussing media right extension

The BYU/Baylor TV rating comes at a unique time for BYU’s future home, the Big 12 Conference. New Commissioner Brett Yormark was in Provo to witness the late-night double-overtime thriller.

Yormark is currently in extension talks with the Big 12’s media rights partners, ESPN and FOX. Pulling in an audience of 2.4 million on ESPN for a game that didn’t include Texas and Oklahoma has to be a bright spot for the Big 12’s potential moving forward.

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

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