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McFeely: Win over James Madison gets Bison biggest title-game TV ratings

North Dakota State Bison fans cheer during the game against the James Madison Dukes at Toyota Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

North Dakota State’s 17-13 victory over James Madison in the Football Championship Subdivision game Saturday, Jan. 6 drew an average of 1.515 million viewers between 11 a.m. and 2:18 p.m. Central, when the game ended on ESPN2. That’s the highest television ratings a Bison national championship game has drawn in their six appearances in Frisco, Texas.

The numbers, provided by the Twitter account @SportsTVRatings and the Web site showbuzzdaily.com, showed the Bison game was one of Saturday’s higher-rated live events, although it was far behind that day’s NFL playoff games. The NFC wildcard game on NBC between Atlanta and the Los Angeles Rams drew an average of 22.815 million viewers and the AFC wildcard game between Tennessee and Kansas City averaged 15.96 million viewers on ABC.

But the only other event that outdrew the Bison-Dukes game was the U.S. Figure Skating Championships on NBC, which drew an average of 1.932 million viewers. The FCS game outdrew two college basketball games on ESPN on Saturday: North Carolina/Virginia (1.297 million viewers) and Duke/North Carolina State (1.22 million).

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