Alabama’s victory over Georgia in the SEC Championship game drew the largest national television audience of any college football game so far this season.
The CBS telecast of Saturday’s game from the Georgia Dome posted a national Nielsen rating of 9.8, meaning 9.8 percent of U.S. households with televisions tuned in on average. Previously, the highest rated game of the college season was the Nov. 24 Notre Dame-USC game, which posted a 9.4 national rating.
CBS said the SEC title game averaged 16.2 million viewers across the country, peaking at 21.8 million for the final half hour of the telecast..
Locally, almost one-third of metro Atlanta households watched the game on average. The local rating of 32.2 was the highest for any football game — college or pro — on Atlanta TV since this year’s Super Bowl, which posted a 51.3 rating here.
The highest local ratings for Falcons games so far this season are 31.8 for last Thursday’s game against the Saints and 31.1 for the Nov. 4 game against the Cowboys.
One market had a higher rating than Atlanta for the SEC title game: Birmingham, which posted a super-sized 52.6.
Among the nation’s 56 largest markets, the highest ratings for the game outside Birmingham and Atlanta were posted in Jacksonville (22.7), New Orleans (21.5) and Nashville (21.0).
The Atlanta rating translated to an audience of about 740,000 households on average. The local audience peaked with a 39.4 rating — about 900,000 homes — for the telecast’s final 15 minutes.