Frank The Tank's Slant pulled out some very interesting TV viewership numbers from a Nielsen presentation on TV viewership, social networking buzz and ad spend. Of particular note to college sports fans is slide 9, which gives us the average TV viewer numbers per game for each of the 6 power conferences for both football and basketball.
ACC football pulled in the third larger viewership total of the BCS AQ conferences, averaging 2,650,000 viewers. Only the SEC (4,447,000) and Big Ten (3,267,000) drew a larger average TV audience. Despite sub-par results on the field, the ACC still was a better TV draw than the Big 12 (2,347,000), Pac-12 (2,108,000) and Big East (1,884,000).
The conference was even stronger in hoops, averaging a viewership of 1,247,000, second best of the major conferences and only behind the Big Ten (1,496,000). Better than the SEC (1,222,000), Big 12 (1,069,000), Big East (1,049,000) and Pac-12 (783,000).
So what does it all mean?
This means that the ACC's current TV contract with ESPN is massively undervalued, and Larry Scott is a miracle worker:
B. The ACC has an undervalued TV contract - The flip side of the Big Ten and SEC analysis above is that while the ACC's basketball viewership strength isn't unexpected, the much maligned football side actually has strong TV numbers. If you take a step back for a moment, it makes sense. Florida State and Miami continue to be great national TV draws (even when they're down) and schools such as Virginia Tech bring in large state markets.
Also, if you want to get even more frustrated with the lack of a playoff in Division I-A college football (no, a playoff of two teams is not a playoff), check out the Total Ad Spend 2007-10 graphic on slide 9 which compares college basketball and football ad spend.