The Colorado phenomenon has continued to grow through the first three weeks of the season.
The Buffaloes’ dramatic double-overtime win over rival Colorado State on Saturday was the most-watched game of the 2023 season so far. According to ESPN, the game averaged 9.3 million viewers. That’s more than the 9.13 million who watched Florida State’s win over LSU over Labor Day weekend and the 8.76 million who watched Texas beat Alabama in Week 2.
🔥 @CUBuffsFootball‘s comeback thriller registers 𝟗.𝟑 𝐌𝐈𝐋𝐋𝐈𝐎𝐍 𝐕𝐈𝐄𝐖𝐄𝐑𝐒
— ESPN PR (@ESPNPR) September 19, 2023
It’s the fifth most-watched game ever on an ESPN network and an incredibly impressive viewership considering the game started at 10 PM ET. In Week 2, the 10:30 PM ET game between Auburn and Cal averaged 2.23 million viewers.
Viewership was undoubtedly helped by the proximity of the game and the back and forth in the days leading up to it. Colorado was a three-touchdown favorite but had to score twice in the final eight minutes to force overtime after trailing 28-17 early in the fourth quarter. The Buffs tied the game with 36 seconds left on a 45-yard TD pass from Shedeur Sanders to Jimmy Horn Jr. and won the game in the second overtime on Sanders’ 18-yard TD pass to Michael Harrison.
Before the game, Colorado State coach Jay Norvell said his team was “tired” of the hype surrounding the Buffaloes because of Deion Sanders’ presence in Boulder. Sanders then told his team that Norvell’s comments were “personal.”
Each of Colorado’s first three games of the 2023 season drew an average crowd of more than 7 million people. The Buffs’ upset of TCU in Week 1 had an average audience of 7.3 million viewers and Colorado’s win over Nebraska in Week 2 had an average audience of just over 8.7 million.
Expect another huge viewership on Saturday when Colorado plays its first Pac-12 game of the season and faces its second-ranked opponent of the year. The Buffaloes visit No. 10 Oregon at 3:30 PM ET on ABC as part of a stacked Week 4 featuring six games between ranked opponents.