At CBS Sports, the good times are rolling

November 4, 2011

Many of us are looking forward to Saturday night’s prime-time match-up between Louisiana State and Alabama, the top two teams in college football. For a few hours, we get to set aside the craziness of conference realignment, forget about our own dismal teams (Boston College, this means you) and watch a good old-fashioned brawl between two storied programs.

But nobody may be as pumped up about Saturday’s game as Les Moonves, the CBS Corp Chief Executive who, it must be said, gets pumped up about a lot of stuff (ask him about NCIS sometime). Who can blame him — CBS Sports is bound to draw a blockbuster audience for the Southeastern Conference showdown.

“This weekend on our air we essentially have this year’s college football championship when number one LSU plays number two Alabama in prime time,” he said yesterday on an earnings conference call. “You don’t have to wait for the BCS in January this year to find out who the best team in the country is.”

He then added, “So our long-term deal with the SEC is paying off now and will continue to do so until 2023. This deal is looking better all the time as the SEC has clearly become the dominant conference in college football.”

It will be interesting to see just what sort of audience the game draws. Brad Adgate, of Horizon Media, told me today that he wouldn’t be surprised if more than 12 million viewers tuned in to CBS. He notes that last month’s game between Alabama and Florida — a good match-up, but hardly as good as Saturday’s — pulled in 8 million viewers for CBS.

“This will be big,” he said.

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