Washington Huskies vs Oregon Ducks: Record-Breaking Pac-12 Championship Game Draws 9.2 Million Viewers
The Pac-12 Championship Game between the Washington Huskies and the Oregon Ducks on Friday was a historic event, attracting a record-breaking 9.2 million viewers on ABC, according to ESPN. This viewership milestone marks the highest number of viewers for a Pac-12 title game in the conference’s history.
Peak Viewership and Previous Record
The game reached its peak viewership between 11:30 p.m. to 11:45 p.m. ET, drawing an impressive 11.1 million viewers. The previous record for the Pac-12 Championship Game viewership was set in 2014 when the matchup between Oregon and Arizona garnered six million viewers.
Washington Claims the Pac-12 Championship
In an intense battle, Washington emerged victorious with a 34-31 win over Oregon, securing the 2023 Pac-12 championship. This triumph is expected to secure Washington’s spot in the College Football Playoff, with the official announcement set to be made on Sunday. The Huskies, boasting a perfect 13-0 record, have now defeated the Ducks twice this season, having previously won with a score of 36-33 on October 14 in Seattle.
Pac-12 Expansion and Media Rights
The Big Ten approved the inclusion of Oregon and Washington as new members on August 4. The competition between these teams is set to begin in the 2024-25 season. This decision follows the recent addition of Pac-12 flagship programs USC and UCLA to the Big Ten, which will commence on August 2, 2024. The Pac-12’s struggle to secure a lucrative linear media rights contract, combined with the Big 12’s successful media rights agreement reached last fall, prompted several Pac-12 programs to consider leaving the conference.
Reflecting on Missed Opportunities
The record-breaking viewership for the Pac-12 Championship Game highlights the missed opportunities and failures of the conference’s past and present presidents to secure a media rights deal. Despite starting the season strong with record viewership numbers from Colorado, the Pac-12’s inability to maintain this momentum is disheartening. The Washington-Oregon game’s viewership surpassed the previous record for a Pac-12 title game by over three million viewers. Sports media writer Richard Deitsch aptly expresses the sentiment of what could have been for the Pac-12.
The Washington Huskies’ victory over the Oregon Ducks in the Pac-12 Championship Game captivated a record-breaking audience of 9.2 million viewers. This milestone solidifies the game’s status as the most-watched title game in Pac-12 history. As the conference looks towards the future, it must address its media rights challenges and strive to regain its former glory.
(Photo: Kirby Lee / USA Today)