Jan. 2, 2017
The University of Notre Dame qualified as the only school in the country to have multiple football and men’s basketball games rank among the top 50 most-watched sporting events in 2016 outside of the National Football League and the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, according to figures compiled by Sports Media Watch.
Notre Dame had four events rank among the top 50-two football games and two men’s basketball contests. Of those 50 events, 16 were college football games and seven were men’s college basketball contests.
Alabama led all institutions with five appearances (all football), while Ohio State also had four (all football). The only program with more than Notre Dame’s two men’s basketball appearances were Villanova and North Carolina (three each).
Here are the Irish events that made the top 50:
|29th: Notre Dame vs. Texas||6.4 rating||10.95 million viewers||ABC||
(2016 Irish regular-season football opener on Sunday night)
|35th: Notre Dame vs. North Carolina||5.8 rating||10.11 million viewers||TBS||
(2016 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship Elite Eight game)
|38th: Notre Dame vs. Ohio State||5.6 rating||9.76 million viewers||ESPN||
(2016 Fiesta Bowl)
|50th: Notre Dame vs. S.F. Austin||5.4 rating||8.39 million viewers||CBS||(2016 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship second round game)|
College football produced three of the top 11 events on the list-led by the Alabama-Clemson College Football Playoff championship game last January (third with a 15.0 rating).
Game 7 of the 2016 World Series between the Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians (21.8 rating) was the highest-rated event. The Cubs and Indians combined for five of the top nine ratings-and all seven World Series games ranked among the top 17 contests.
–by John Heisler, senior associate athletics director