Overnight television ratings for Texas’ 50-47 upset of No. 10 Notre Dame in double-overtime drew a 7.0 rating for ABC, making it No. 2 on ESPN/ABC’s ratings list for season-opening telecasts in the past 11 years. The viewership was eclipsed only by ABC’s 2005 opener between Miami and Florida State that drew a 7.2 rating.
Additionally, the telecast set multiple viewership records for streaming. On WatchESPN, the stream had an average minute audience of 194,000 for a total of 768,000 unique viewers watching 49,900,000 minutes overall. Those numbers represent all-time highs in each category for a regular-season college football game on that product.
In terms of specific markets, Dallas-Fort Worth ranked No. 4 nationally in viewership of the Sunday night telecast. Austin (25.4 local rating) led the way, followed by Birmingham, Ala. (17.3 rating), San Antonio (15.1) and Dallas-Fort Worth (13.1). Houston was seventh, with an 11.5 rating.
The contest marked the first career start for Texas quarterback Shane Buechele, a freshman from Arlington Lamar who is the son of Texas Rangers’ bench coach Steve Buechele. The elder Buechele was given Sunday off to attend the game by his boss, Rangers’ manager Jeff Banister.
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Texas coach Charlie Strong said he was pleased the elder Buechele was able to attend.
“I told him, ‘You can’t miss this one.’ And he was like, ‘Oh, I’ll get there, coach. I’ll make sure I’m there,’” Strong said. “When it was done, I was just so happy for him and his family.”