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Dick Harmon: BYU/Utah TV ratings shaping up

Published: Sunday, May 23 2010 12:19 a.m. MDT

Basketball

BYU viewership increased in 2009-10 over 2008-09 by nearly one rating point, while Utah viewership slightly declined. This is not surprising, as a common element among sports programming is ratings rise and fall based on team performance.

Similar to football, there was an average of one rating point difference between BYU and Utah for basketball in 2008-09, with BYU seeing more viewership on average.

In 2009-10, that margin increased, with BYU enjoying more success than Utah in basketball.

In 2009-10, the largest average viewership for a single game for both teams came at the MWC Tournament in Las Vegas — BYU drew a 4.8 rating, with Utah collecting a 2.8.

In 2008-09, the BYU/Utah game on The mtn. had an average rating of 4.5 — outstanding for basketball — and was each team's highest TV draw on The mtn. that season.

Ellis provided some footnotes to the research.

1. These figures do not include HD viewership of games televised on The mtn. for football and basketball (the MWC Tournament).

2. Data does not include potential Dish Network households, but Dish Network households are factored into the ratings.

3. Figures do not include any simulcasts with CBS C.

Ellis said he does not have access to VERSUS and CBS C figures.

"But even if I did, I am not in the position to provide another network's ratings. I would imagine they trend the same way, but can't state that with certainty," he said.

The bottom line?

BYU has enjoyed a tremendous TV presence in the area and has attracted national audiences with impressive numbers, which is a big reason ESPN saw to it BYU played Oklahoma last September in Dallas.

I'd wager that a big chunk of both BYU and Utah fans tune in to watch both teams when possible. They share some of the same eyeball numbers.

But Utah's numbers have significantly increased with the success of its football program. And when the twain shall meet, it is the biggest show the league's network is capable of producing.

e-mail: dharmon@desnews.com

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