As expected, CBS saw the college football record broken for an online/mobile audience during Saturday's LSU-Alabama showdown. Over 200,000 watched the game via the website and CBS Sports Mobile, which considering that the network was seeing numbers "hovering just under six figures" means they more than doubled their greatest online audience. The number is significant because the reason why we don't see more big games streaming online is the fear that the online audience will steal ratings from TV. Advertisers pay for TV ratings, and a loss of audience means loss of money for future events, but that obviously didn't happen because CBS saw their second-highest rated program on TV since 1987.
214,560 Is A College Football Streaming Record
CBS says 171,658 unique streams came from the website alone, and 42,912 came from mobile devices. Apparently, their overall record remains pretty safe. They got 1,153,981 online viewers for an NCAA basketball tournament game between Florida and BYU last year, and you have to think a lot of those March Madness games hover around that figure because people can stream the game from work in many cases. That was the first official game of the 2010 NCAA Tournament, playing a little after noon ET on a Thursday, when many people are stuck at work, and the game went to double overtime.
The LSU-Alabama game happened on Saturday night, so there was less of a reason for people to catch the game online. So getting over 200,000 is amazing, and I hope that the fact that since CBS saw their second-largest Nielsen rating (11.9/21) since 1989, we might be able to get streams of other large events in the future where the online audience will clearly not hurt the overall TV number. You know, like the Super Bowl. I know a lot of people who have had to work on Sunday nights and miss that game. That's all I'm saying.