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2013/2014 Bearcat Basketball Television Ratings

Before pouring through TV ratings, I braced for the worst. Turns out, things could be a lot worse, but finding ratings information is a lot like searching for Bigfoot.

Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

By now, you may have read the recent ESPN press release ranking Cincinnati as one of the top six cities for viewing college basketball this year. Having lived in this city for 20-something years, this didn't completely surprise me, but I was glad to see the Queen City next to the likes of Memphis and Raleigh-Durham.

It did get me wondering, though: just how popular have the Bearcats been on television this year? Turns out, there's not a lot of data readily available based on my few hours scouring the interwebs, so I had to piece together what I could find in order to develop some sort of conclusion. Nothing like drawing conclusions from incomplete data, right?

I'm sure there's an easier way to figure this out, but I have a life outside of TV ratings... Here's the bad news: I could only find ratings info for the ESPN TV channels (not ESPN3) and the newly created Fox Sports 1. And, yes, that amounts to a whopping 6 games so far this year. All of this data comes from the Son of the Bronx blog.

Ranked by total number of views, here are those 6 games:

Date Opponent Channel Rating* Viewers Weekly Rank**
Tues, 11/12/13 NC State ESPN 0.7 933,000 4th
Tues, 12/17/13 Pittsburgh ESPN 0.6 845,000 4th
Sat, 1/4/14 Memphis ESPN2 0.3 514,000 3rd
Sat, 12/28/13 Nebraska ESPN2 0.2 244,000 5th
Sat, 12/14/13 Xavier FS1 0.1 212,000 1st
Wed, 1/1/14 SMU ESPNU 0.1 135,000 7th

*Household Rating: A 1.0 rating equals 1% of all U.S. TV households
**Weekly Rank: Game ranking in terms of views on that specific network for the week. For example, if a rank is '2nd' on ESPNU, it was the second most viewed college basketball game on that channel for the week.

A couple of observations:

  • I'd rather be on ESPN2 playing against a bottom rung B1G team at noon than anywhere near FS1. The horrible ratings of the new Big East have been well documented (Google it).
  • The Crosstown Shootout was the most viewed game on FS1 that week. And recorded a 0.1. Wonder what the ratings would have been if it were on an ESPN2...
  • You may recall the NC State game was at 5pm on a weekday. But it was part of ESPN's 24 hour tip-off marathon. I was surprised it was the #1 most watched UC game.
  • According to this press release, ESPN averaged a 1.1 rating for college basketball games last year. Both of the Bearcats' ESPN games this year fell well below that.
  • If Memphis and Cincinnati are 2 of the top 6 viewing cities, why did their game register a 0.3? Wait, don't answer that...

I wish I could find comparisons to years' past. I'd like to see where UC ranks this year compared to previous years (in the real Big East). Overall, though, Cincinnatians may be tuning into college basketball, but they're not necessarily watching the Bearcats. Considering the number of really good programs within 150 miles of here, this isn't a shock, but I found it a little sobering. I'll try my best to periodically track this from time-to-time. Your thoughts?