Penn State continues to rule Big Ten football TV ratings

University Park, Pa. — Last Saturday's Penn State-Michigan State clash was ESPN2's highest viewed and rated Big Ten football game this season, just the latest highlight for the Big Ten's perennial TV dynamo.

Since beginning conference competition in 1993, Penn State has played in seven of the top 15 rated Big Ten football games on ESPN, the most of any Big Ten team (Michigan is next with five). The Nittany Lions have played in six of top 15 highest viewed Big Ten games on ESPN, tied for first among conference squads (with Michigan).

Penn State has played in three of the top six highest-viewed Big Ten games on ESPN, led by the pulsating 2005 primetime win over Ohio State, which was seen in 4.435 million U.S. cable households. The Nittany Lions have played in four of the top six highest-rated conference clashes on ESPN, led by the 5.40 rating for Penn State's 1994 win over Michigan State to clinch an 11-0 regular season and its first Big Ten Championship.

Since 1993, the Nittany Lions owns nine of the top 20 highest rated Big Ten football games on ESPN2 to lead all conference teams (Ohio State and Michigan are tied with five apiece in the top 20). Penn State has played in seven of the top 20 most viewed Big Ten games on ESPN2 to also rank first among conference squads (OSU is second with five).

Last week's PSU-MSU clash was seen in 1,770,864 million U.S. cable households, the sixth-largest audience for a Big Ten football game on ESPN2, and largest this season.

Penn State's television popularity is even more evident during bowl season. Last year, the Nittany Lions' last minute victory over LSU in the 2010 Capital One Bowl earned a six percent television ratings increase over the 2009 contest and was seen on in more than 7.8 million U.S. TV households.

The Nittany Lions' 19-17 win over the Tigers earned a 6.8 rating for the ABC national telecast on New Year's Day, tied with the FedEx Orange Bowl for the fifth-highest rated bowl among the 34 post-season contests last season.

The Nittany Lions have long been one of college football's premier programs for television networks. Every Nittany Lion game has been televised the past seven seasons and 202 of the last 204 Penn State games overall have been on TV.

Penn State is eligible for its 37th bowl game under Hall of Fame coach Joe Paterno, the all-time leader in bowl victories (24-11-1 record) and appearances. The Nittany Lions may be in position to earn their 25th New Year's Day bowl berth under Paterno, who has a 17-7 record in January games.

All the bowl selections will be announced Sunday at approximately 8:15 p.m. on ESPN.

Contacts: 
Last Updated March 21, 2011