ESPN’s crowning game of the annual SEC/Big 12 Challenge presented by Sonic on Saturday, Jan. 28 – No. 2 Kansas’ 79-73 defeat of No. 4 Kentucky – earned a 2.0 overnight rating, up 11% over last year’s overtime contest (1.8). The game, played from Rupp Arena in Lexington, Ky., ranked as the highest-rated college basketball game this season on an ESPN network. It is also marked the highest-rated SEC/Big 12 Challenge game since the series started in 2013-14.
ESPN had a streaming average minute audience of 78,000 viewers, up 32% over last year’s game – tying the 2015 Champions Classic Kentucky vs. Duke matchup as the second most-streamed regular-season college basketball game on ESPN.
This year’s SEC/Big 12 Challenge ended in a 5-5 tie, with the Big 12 retaining the trophy after winning the previous three challenges.
Top-10 Metered Markets
In Louisville, the game averaged a 15.6 rating, the fourth-highest rating this season in the market for a college basketball game.
The matchup averaged a 12.3 rating in Kansas City, up 22% from last year’s 10.1 rating for the Kentucky vs. Kansas matchup. The 12.3 rating ranks as the highest-rated regular-season college basketball game in the market since last year’s Oklahoma vs. Kansas game (Jan. 4; 16.8 rating).
Behind Louisville and Kansas City, the top-10 markets are as followed: Cincinnati (8.6), Nashville (6.4), Knoxville (6.1), Indianapolis (4.8), Memphis (4.6), Greensboro (4.4), Richmond (4.2) and Dayton (3.9).