Week Two is behind us, and new entity beIN SPORTS (emphasis theirs) has announced their viewership numbers from the weekends broadcast.
In its first season competing with the likes of ESPN, American Sports Network, and other local streaming sites, beIN is off to a slow start. This could be due to lack of name recognition or simply the relatively low interest in a lot of Underdog games vs. the Power Five, but over two weeks the numbers can at least give us some idea of what to expect as the season goes on. Or, indeed, the future of beIN.
As we covered earlier this season, the first-year beIN deal involves streaming one C-USA game a week. Week One saw New Mexico State vs UTEP draw 13,000 viewers, which would more than likely include anyone accessing the game during beIN’s pregame show, halftime show, postgame, or during the game itself. For comparison, the lowest-rated game on ESPNU in Week One was Western Michigan beating Northwestern, which drew 160,000.
Granted, that game involved a Big Ten team, which will traditionally have higher viewership numbers no matter how bad their teams are doing. UTEP/NMSU was more likely to draw smaller local interest than any nationwide viewers, though we here at UDD were quite curious about the broadcasting content as well as the game itself, and no doubt others around the country felt the same way.
Week Two, for which we now have numbers, saw FCS Morgan State at Marshall. This drew only 6,000 viewers, a number easily eclipsed by the 2nd lowest-rated streaming broadcast, ESPNU’s Eastern Michigan at Missouri with 380,000. For comparison, the only other true underdog match-up we’ve had so far this season was when ESPNU broadcast Toledo at Arkansas State on Sept. 2, which capped out at 143,000.
Expect the numbers to go up again this weekend, as beIN streams Troy at Southern Miss, starting at 7pm EST. The network’s ratings should also improve as sports fans become more familiar with beIN SPORTS’ football offerings.
You can look over the rest of the numbers for the first two weeks of the season here.