ESPN has a final tally of the number of people who watched the University of Montana Griz upset the No. 1 ranked North Dakota State Bison last Saturday and, according to ESPN, nearly a million people were watching.

"The game drew a very respectable .7 household rating, which is about 981,000 viewers according to ESPN," said Assistant Sports Information Director Eric Tabor. The same game from a year ago between Eastern Washington and Sam Houston State drew only a .5 rating, so a little bit of an interesting comparision there."

Even with the NFL Preseason and a big boxing match on the same day, The Griz managed to get a lot more views than expected and ended up as the fourth most watched sports program that Saturday, even though the game wasn’t broadcast during prime-time.

"It's very good news for Grizzly Athletics and, more importantly, it's good news for the institution as a whole. It's not often that a school like the University of Montana gets placed on the national like that and you couldn't ask for a better result. You couldn't have written a better story line. I'm hoping that someday someone makes a movie about this game."

Even with all of the drama and viewership, the Griz still didn't beat their all-time highest viewership, which was the 2009 Griz vs. Applachian State semi-final game. That game was seen by 1, 857, 000 people, but also had the benefit of being shown late in the season and during prime-time.

The top five markets watching the Griz (and Viewership Rating)

  • Birmingham, Alabama   (2.4)
  • Columbus, Ohio (1.8)
  • Nashville, Tennessee  (1.6)
  • Atlanta, Georgia  (1.5)
  • Oklahoma City (1.5)
  • Tulsa (1.4)
  • Minneapolis-St. Paul (1.4)
  • Ft. Meyers (1.3)
  • Jacksonville (1.2)
  • San Diego (1.1)