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Big East television ratings reach all-time high on Fox Sports

This young conference takes another step toward legitimacy.

NCAA Basketball: Seton Hall at St. John Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Per a release from Fox Sports, the Big East conference enjoyed its most watched season on Fox Networks. Big East viewership on FS1 and FS2 is up 16% from last season, and 84% from the conference’s inaugural season.

As this release outlines, the Big East averaged 192,000 viewers per game. This statistic includes both the regular season and conference tournament. Last season, the conference averaged 166,000 viewers per contest. In their first season, the Big East averaged a mere 104,000 viewers.

While Big East basketball has steadily gained popularity over the years, it still lags behind many other conferences on larger networks. Sports Business Daily reports that CBS averaged 1.4 million viewers per game last season. They also report that ESPN drew an average audience of 1.2 million last year.

Regardless, a significant uprising in television figures can only help the Big East come time to renegotiate with Fox Sports.

The only way to improve upon these numbers is to provide fans with exciting matchups. The Big East is coming off its strongest season. Seven of ten conference members qualified for the NCAA Tournament. That is the second most bids by a conference, only shy of the ACC’s nine tournament representatives.

St. John’s must contribute to the Big East’s effort. The Red Storm act as an important pillar in the league’s television figures. They are located in the nation’s largest media market. Stimulating the always vital New York market has to be a priority for the Big East.

Under coach Chris Mullin, the Johnnies are soon expected to enter a bit of a renaissance period. This past season St. John’s showed just enough to encourage supporters. Some highlights include road victories at Syracuse and Providence, a home upset against Butler, and winning the season series over rival Georgetown.

The Big East remains prominent in college basketball discussions. However, to further establish itself amongst other power conferences it must continue to increase television audiences.