The game averaged a 5.9 rating, meaning 5.9 percent of U.S. households with TVs had at least one tuned to the contest. That’s up 5 percent from last year’s mark and hasn’t been topped since the 6.5 rating scored by the 1994 game (Army won, 22-20).
Full audience figures weren’t released, but the rating puts the game in elite company when it comes to college football, per Sports Media Watch:
- The Nov. 25 Ohio State-Michigan game on Fox drew a 6.2 rating and was watched by about 10.5 million people.
- Conference championship contests from the Pac-12, Atlantic Coast Conference and Big 12 Conference all posted lower ratings than the Black Knights and Midshipmen.
- Along with Ohio State-Michigan, only three other regular-season college football games topped Army-Navy in overnight ratings: Ohio State-Penn State, Alabama-Florida State and Alabama-Auburn.
Saturday’s ratings may have ticked up thanks to a competitive game in Philadelphia’s winter-wonderland setting, but the main reason for the spike appears to be the 2009 move of the contest to the second weekend in December, making it the only top-tier college football contest of the weekend. Ratings spiked from 2008 to 2009 (2.4 to 4.2, per Sports Media Watch), then dipped a bit in 2010 before beginning a steady rise.
Next year’s game will be Saturday, Dec. 8, in Philadelphia. CBS has the TV rights through 2028.
Kevin Lilley is the features editor of Military Times.