The Carrier Classic made a lot of headlines because the event was so unique. Never before did two college basketball teams meet on an aircraft carrier, and there was a ton of interest in the game for that reason. There was also a lot of interest because Michigan State and North Carolina were the teams meeting in the game and because President Obama was in attendance.â†µ
To say the least, all of the storylines surrounding the game resulted in a lot of people tuning in last Friday to watch on ESPN. For example, Josh Krulewitz reports that the Carrier Classic was the highest rated college basketball game on ESPN in November in 19 years. Also, it was ESPN's highest rated regular season college basketball game since March 2006, as reported by Mike Humes.â†µ
Carrier Classic is ESPN's high-rated & most-viewed reg-season men's CBB game since 3/4/06 with 2.7 rtng & 3,859,000 viewersâ†µ
College basketball viewership unsurprisingly goes up in March when conference tournaments and the Big Dance take place. That is when interest in the sport seems to be at its highest. This early in the season a lot of people are still in football mode and don't bother tuning in to many games. However, the Carrier Classic was so unique that it had the feel of a big-time tournament game you might see in March, and the ratings certainly reflect that notion.