Early Returns Suggest Deion Sanders is a College Football Ratings Monster

Colorado State v Colorado
Colorado State v Colorado / Dustin Bradford/GettyImages

The Deion Sanders show out in Colorado has captured the rapt attention of the sporting world at large. There was a ton of hype over the summer about what Sanders might do with the Buffaloes but it would be fair if you chalk that up to the doldrums of the sports calender. Say what you might about Sanders as a coach, he's definitely entertaining and extremely easy fodder for the studio shows on slow days. There was some question as to how much of that attention would carry over once the games started.

Safe to say it has pretty much entirely carried over. Colorado going 3-0 in pretty exciting games to open the year has ensured the spotlight stays on Coach Prime. Both of the major college football pregame shows (and also First Take) traveled to Colorado's campus this past Saturday. And it's not just the sports-crazed among us who have become very invested in Sanders' team. The greater college football viewing population at large wants to watch what he's doing.

It's early days still but Sanders may have grown into a viewership monster for the sport. Colorado's Week 1 win over TCU drew 7.2 million viewers on FOX's Big Noon Kickoff, the highest viewership mark of any game in college football that week and the highest opening game ratings ever for FOX. Following that came the Buffaloes' big rivalry win over Colorado State, which put up gigantic numbers on ESPN by any measure, but especially when taking into account the 10pm ET kickoff; over 9 million tuned in to the overtime affair.

Right now Sanders and Colorado are the story of college football. The test will come when they stumble, which could be as soon as this week given they'll be without Travis Hunter for the next few games. Will the Prime Show be as enticing once the Buffaloes hit their ceiling in Sanders' first year as head coach?

If the viewership remains steady then we can safely consider Sanders a ceiling-raiser when it comes to ratings. The early returns on that front are very promising for the CFB rightsholding networks, though.