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College GameDay at Washington State seen by almost 2 million TV viewers

WSU football fans cheer during the filming of ESPN's College GameDay on Saturday, October 20, 2018, in Pullman, Wash. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
WSU football fans cheer during the filming of ESPN's College GameDay on Saturday, October 20, 2018, in Pullman, Wash. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)

PULLMAN – Thousands of people woke up early Saturday morning to attend ESPN College GameDay’s first-ever show at Washington State in person and almost 2 million more caught the three-hour program on television.

Across the nation, the show recorded a Nielsen total live audience of 1,801,000 viewers on ESPN and ESPNU. It also scored an impressive average overnight rating of 1.4 across both ESPN channels and was up +17 percent from a 2017 Week 8 show surrounding a Big Ten game between Michigan and Penn State.

Not surprisingly, Saturday’s broadcast performed especially well across the Evergreen State and in the city that houses the largest percentage of Washington State graduates.

In Seattle, the program was the second-highest College GameDay on record and the best in the market since 2013, when the ESPN show visited the University of Washington for an Oct. 12 Pac-12 North rivalry game between the Huskies and Oregon Ducks.

WSU fans – many of them bearing the Ol’ Crimson flag that’s appeared on every GameDay show since 2003 – packed Stadium Way and Ferdinand’s Lane up to two hours before Kirk Herbstreit, Lee Corso, Rece Davis, Desmond Howard and David Pollack went live.

Davis later told KREM2’s Darnay Tripp, “I’ve been doing this show four years and we’ve had some great scenes and I don’t want to take away from anybody else, but I’ve never seen anything like that. It was passionate, it was loud, it was respectful. They listened, they reacted, they were crazy. They delivered on everything they promised. I asked the question earlier in the show on the set, ‘What took us so long?’ because it was a great environment. It was tremendous.”

Before Saturday’s show went live, Davis addressed the crimson mob in front of him, saying “Pullman, two words for you. Holy (expletive).”

Herbstreit described the atmoshpere in Pullman during his guest appearance on the Dan Patrick Show Monday morning.

“We’ve had some fun GameDays over the years, but that was as crazy and festive of an atmosphere throughout the entire show,” Herbstreit said. “Even before the show and after the show.”

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