The Number Monkey, a writer at Big XII Fanatics, has a very interesting piece up about television ratings for college football. In this piece he looks at the Tier 1 games, those on ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC. In addition to some in depth analysis (and pretty charts) there is this:
One thing that stands out when looking at the numbers, is that out of conference games, while valuable, are nowhere near as valuable as conference games. This is why the Big Ten, Big 12 and Pac 12 have moved to nine conference games; they have more premium inventory to sell. While ABC shows a slightly larger average for out of conference that is due to three big games, two of them in the first two weeks.
That should provide support for conferences who are thinking about going to nine conference games. I wonder if there would be better ratings if the power five conferences just scheduled each other. That’s would definitely increase the viewership of most people I talk to. On the other hand most people that I talk to about college football viewership and future scheduling philosophy are pretty hardcore fans.
According to the Number Monkey, East coast bias is alive and well.
Time of day, however, does. Almost half of the US population resides within the Eastern Time zone. Matter a fact, just under 80% of the US population resides within the Eastern and Central Time Zones, with only 14.1% of the population residing on the West Coast.
That being said:
Time of day and place within the season, while having a big impact on audience, are not the primary reason people watch games, it just shows when they like to watch. The most important indicator toward whether a game garners a large audience or not is the winning percentage of the teams playing the game.
The piece is interesting throughout and worth reading.