TV: College football games nobody watched (practically)

The Florida International-Western Kentucky game on Nov. 5 had approximately 2,000 television viewers, according to the data on Sports Media Watch, and it was one of nine games in the 2016 season that had more in attendance than actually watching from home.

Only 2,000?

FIU and Western Kentucky had an attendance of 15,516 (that’s seven times-plus the number of TV viewers). So, rounding up, that’s about 18,000 total people caring enough to watch that game.

Perhaps the main reason for the low viewership is because all nine of these games were on the fledgling beIN sports network, a Qatari-based network. In beIN’s defense, it was known for televising motor sports and soccer in the United States. It is just starting to go after the big ratings by including a relatively small schedule of games. It just announced this summer it would be televising college football, specifically games involving Conference USA.

And maybe that’s another reason: Most of these games involved schools in the Sun Belt and C-USA.

But with WKU’s and FIU’s combined enrollment of about 60,000, one would think more than 18,000 people would be interested in watching these two teams play. It makes one feel sorry for the players on these teams.

Talk about playing the game for yourself. Pretty much the only people watching were the players on the sidelines. These teams were as close to playing for themselves as two teams could get.

Well, maybe, FIU and Florida Atlantic came close, too.

The FIU-Florida Atlantic game had approximately 3,000 viewers and the Florida Atlantic-Middle Tennessee (a 77-56 shootout) had 4,000 viewers.

For the sake of contrast, the highest-rated regular season game in 2016 was Michigan-Ohio State (16.8 million viewers … or 8,400 times the amount of those who viewed FIU-Western Kentucky).

Below is a list of the top lowest-rated college football games for the 2016 season, according to Sports Media Watch:

Viewers Game Network Attendance Result
2,000 Fla. International at W. Kentucky beIN 15,516 WKU, 49-21
3,000 Fla. Atlantic at Fla. International beIN 16,164 FIU, 33-31
4,000 Fla. Atlantic at Middle Tennessee beIN 10,227 MTSU, 77-56
6,000 Morgan State at Marshall beIN 26,488 Marshall, 62-0
12,000 Southern Mississippi at North Texas beIN 19,120 N. Texas, 29-23
13,000 New Mexico State at UTEP beIN 30,119 UTEP, 38-22
13,000 UTSA at Rice beIN 20,134 UTSA, 14-13
16,000 Central Fla. at Fla. International beIN 18,524 UCF, 53-14
23,000 Troy at Southern Mississippi beIN 27,905 Troy, 37-31

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