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Deion Sanders and Colorado at center of college football war between ESPN and FOX

It seems that in the ongoing war between sports content providers ESPN and FOX, Deion Sanders and his Colorado Buffaloes are the latest tool in their ratings battle.

The Colorado Buffaloes and head coach Deion Sanders have been one of the biggest stories in college football this year. The NFL Hall-of-Famer has brought not only his talented son and his patented swagger with him from Jackson State, but he has also included his winning ways as the program moved to 3-0 on Saturday night.

Related: Week 4 college football rankings – Texas at No. 1, Georgia and Alabama plummet after Week 3

Their evening clash with Colorado State became a headline maker late last week as the Rams head coach took some surprising personal swipes at “Coach Prime.” That along with the in-state rivalry between the two schools and Sanders’ status in the sport made the matchup one of the most anticipated games on the Week 3 college football schedule.

Colorado Buffaloes and Deion Sanders have delivered big numbers for both FOX and ESPN

deion sanders
Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

And it seems the duopoly that broadcasts NCAA D-I football wanted to use that heightened interest in their battle to outdo each other in the ratings. For the third straight week, FOX’s “Big Noon Kickoff” pregame show based its operations at the location of a Colorado Buffaloes game. What makes this week’s coverage of the Buffs all the more fascinating is FOX did not own the rights to the Colorado vs. Colorado State game. It actually aired on ESPN.

However, the sports broadcasting powerhouse was not satisfied with just being able to air this week’s Colorado game. ESPN also based “Big Noon’s” rival, “College GameDay,” in Boulder for the first time since 1996 on Saturday. Furthermore, the network set up shop for Friday editions of “The Pat McAfee Show,” “Sportscenter,” and “First Take” at the school as well.

The Colorado Buffaloes and Deion Sanders have been worth the coverage for the two networks this season. The Buffs’ first two games reportedly far surpassed FOX’s average numbers in 2022. But ESPN outperformed their rivals by a small margin when they had they were able to air TCU vs. Colorado to an average audience of 7.26 million viewers.

Suffice it to say, get used to seeing the school and the NFL legend on ESPN and FOX airwaves for the rest of the 2023 college football season.