Iowa-Nebraska TV ratings plummeted this year

With FS1 instead of ABC, far fewer viewers for Black Friday game

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Often in television, it isn’t the product as much as it is the platform.

Iowa has been known to brag just a little bit when the Hawkeyes-Nebraska Black Friday games have gotten good TV ratings compared to other games that day. Which is fine, you use whatever is at your disposal to enhance your image.

Last year, for instance, the Nebraska-Iowa game had a 2.4 rating and was seen by 4.169 million people. The TCU-Texas game in the same time slot was viewed by only 986,000 people.

Iowa’s game was on ABC. The Texas contest was on Fox Sports 1. The Iowa-Nebraska game had been on ABC since 2011 when they started playing each other yearly. It always was one of the top, if not the No. 1 college football ratings games of the day.

This year, most of the Iowa-Nebraska game was on at the same time as South Florida-UCF. Iowa’s game was seen by 1.4 million viewers. The USF-UCF game, featuring two teams without national profiles but with excellent records, was watched by 4.642 million people. It was the most-watched American Athletic Conference game ever.

It so happens USF-UCF was on ABC, and Iowa-Nebraska was on FS1.

The Missouri-Arkansas game on CBS last Friday afternoon had 2.502 million viewers.

It’s all about platform. FS1 isn’t ABC or CBS or ESPN.

But, Iowa can point to the FS1 triple-header of last Friday and take some comfort. The Baylor-TCU game that preceded Iowa-Nebraska had 472,000 viewers. The California-UCLA game on FS1 that night had 494,000. So Iowa-Nebraska tripled those two games.

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