Last year, the Big Ten signed a massive $7 billion media rights deal with Fox, CBS, and NBC, leaving ESPN out in the cold. If Michigan and Ohio State make it to the College Football Playoff and are lucky enough to play each other again, ESPN would reap the benefits.
Last weekend’s Michigan-Ohio State game was the most-watched college football game of the 2023 regular season, attracting 19.1 million viewers on Fox. Michigan has been featured on several networks, including Peacock, NBC, The Big Ten Network, CBS, and FOX, during their dramatic season.
The latest College Football Playoff rankings list Georgia, Michigan, Washington, and Florida State as the top four teams. Upsets on Saturday could change the rankings and determine the final four teams.
ESPN/ABC executives are hoping for upsets on Saturday, as having Michigan and Ohio State in the final four would be a ratings boon for the network. People love watching these two teams play each other, as evidenced by the high viewership when they’ve played in the past.
Michigan and Ohio State generate significant interest, as shown by the historic viewership for their games. ESPN stands to benefit if they play each other again, despite the unlikeliness of such an event.