FARGO — More than half of all televisions in the Fargo and Grand Forks markets that were in use during the North Dakota State-North Dakota football game were tuned in to the game on WDAY and WDAZ.

That astounding figure is courtesy of Comscore, a company that measures local television viewership and provides it to clients. Forum Communications Co., which owns North Dakota TV stations WDAY, WDAZ, KBMY and KMCY subscribes to Comscore.

The Bison-Fighting Hawks game, a 16-10 NDSU victory on Oct. 2 at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks, garnered a 51.1 share and a 24.6 rating on WDAY+, which consists of Fargo-based WDAY and Grand Forks-based WDAZ. That calculates to nearly 47,000 households in those markets tuning into the game.

The game was viewed in almost 19,000 households in the KBMY+ coverage area, which consists of Bismarck-based KBMY (Bismarck/Dickinson markets) and Minot-based KMCY (Minot/Willison markets).

A television coverage map for North Dakota State football games provided by Forum Communications Co.'s broadcast division.
A television coverage map for North Dakota State football games provided by Forum Communications Co.'s broadcast division.

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That calculates to an average of more than 65,000 homes across the state tuned into the Bison-Hawks game on Forum Communications Co. stations, said the company's vice president of broadcast Josh Rohrer.

The game was also broadcast by Midco Sports, a Sioux Falls, S.D., regional sports network carried by cable and satellite systems and is the rights holder for UND athletics.

For sake of comparison Minnesota Vikings viewership averages about 64,000 households in the Fargo market, according to Comscore.

Forum Communications Co. is in the first year of a three-year contract to carry NDSU athletics. Forum Communications was awarded the contract by Learfield's Bison Sports Properties, NDSU's multimedia rights holder.

"At WDAY, we are grateful to our partners at NDSU, Bison Sports Properties and advertisers to bring Bison athletics to households across the entire state of North Dakota and western Minnesota," Rohrer said.

The contract only included regular-season games. Bison playoff games are controlled by the NCAA and will be carried by ESPN entities.

While the NDSU-UND game was the most-watched — logical, considering both schools have significant fan bases in North Dakota — the other Bison games carried by WDAY+ and KBMY+ also had large viewership. Particularly other Missouri Valley Football Conference games.

On average, about 51,000 households statewide were tuned into Bison football games on WDAY+ and KBMY+ for the Albany, Valparaiso, UND, Northern Iowa, Illinois State, Missouri State and South Dakota State games.

Comscore hasn't yet provided numbers for the regular-season finale against South Dakota.

Forum Communications didn't broadcast the game at Towson (Colonial Athletic Association rightsholder FloSports denied Forum Communications' and NDSU's request to do so) or at Youngstown State (the game was the MVFC game of the week carried only on ESPN+).

According to Comscore, the Bison-Northern Iowa game drew a 44.6 share and 20.8 rating on WDAY+ and a 34.6 share and 14.2 rating on KBMY+. That equates to nearly 58,000 statewide households watching the game.

Rating is the percent of all TV households tuned to a specific station.

Share is the percent of the households using TV which are tuned to a specific program or station at a specified time.

Other games, in order of viewership:

  • Missouri State — 42.8 share, 20.2 rating on WDAY+ and 35.6 share, 14.8 rating on KBMY+. Statewide households 57,000.
  • South Dakota State — 44 share, 19.6 rating on WDAY+ and 33.3 share, 13.0 rating on KBMY+. Statewide households 54,000.
  • Illinois State — 41.3 share, 18.2 rating on WDAY+ and 29.9 share, 11.6 rating on KBMY+. Statewide households 53,000.
  • Indiana State — 37.7 share, 18.4 rating on WDAY+ and 28.5 rating, 12.0 share on KBMY+. Statewide households 50,170.
  • Albany — 34.3 share, 13.2 rating on WDAY+ and 26.1 share, 9.2 rating on KBMY+. Statewide households 40,000.
  • Valparaiso — 29.4 share, 13.1 rating on WDAY+ and 24.8 share, 9.5 rating on KBMY+. Statewide households 38,000.

In another measure of interest in Bison football: Since the beginning of fall camp in August through today, NDSU football articles posted at InForum.com have generated more than 1 million pageviews. A pageview is an instance of an internet user visiting a particular page on a website.