Bowl Game Audiences Grow Eight Percent on ESPN and ESPN2
ESPN and ESPN2 combined to televise 23 college football bowl games and averaged 2,810,000 homes (based on a 2.5 U.S. rating), an increase of eight percent over last season. In 2007-08, the networks combined for an average of 2,596,000 homes for 21 bowl games (based on a 2.3 U.S. rating).
Highlights (all ratings are coverage area – ESPN or ESPN2 universe):
On Saturday, Dec. 27, the Champs Sports Bowl delivered ESPN’s second-largest bowl audience ever. Florida State’s 42-13 victory over Wisconsin averaged 5,098,000 homes, based on a 5.2 rating. (ESPN’s most-watched bowl game ever was the Alamo Bowl on December, 30, 2006, between Iowa and Texas. It was watched by an average of 5,521,000 homes, based on a 6.0 rating.)
ESPN “won the night” December 27 among all TV networks (broadcast or cable) by averaging 4,535,000 homes (as well as viewers; People 18-34, 18-49 and 25-54; and Men 18-34, 18-49 and 25-54) based on a 4.6 rating for the Emerald Bowl. California defeated Miami 24-17.
On two other nights, ESPN led all networks in male viewers 18-34, 18-49 and 25-54. On Monday, Dec. 29, ESPN televised the Valero Alamo Bowl, which earned a 4.6 rating for Missouri’s 30-23 overtime victory over Northwestern. On Tuesday, Dec. 30, ESPN televised the Pacific Life Holiday Bowl, which earned a 4.6 rating for Oregon’s 42-31 win over Oklahoma State.
Overall, ESPN’s 21 games averaged 2,920,000 homes, up two percent from 2,866,000 for 17 contests a year ago (both based on a 3.0 rating). ESPN2 averaged 1,663,000 homes (based on a 1.7 rating) for two games, up 11 percent from 1,502,000 for game bowl games last season (1.6 rating).
(In all cases, historical records go back to 2000, except 2001 for Ft. Myers)
Meineke Car Care Bowl (Dec. 27, West Virginia vs. North Carolina: averaged a 10.5 rating on ESPN in Charlotte, the highest-rated bowl there ever on ESPN or ESPN2.
Champs Sports Bowl (Dec. 27, Florida State vs. Wisconsin): averaged an 11.6 rating on ESPN in Ft. Myers, the highest-rated bowl there on ESPN or ESPN2 ever. The game averaged a 10.4 rating on ESPN in West Palm Beach, the highest-rated bowl there ever on ESPN or ESPN2.
Emerald Bowl (Dec. 27, California vs. Miami): averaged a 5.0 rating on ESPN in Sacramento, the highest-rated bowl there ever on ESPN or ESPN2.
Roady’s Humanitarian Bowl (Dec. 30, Maryland vs. Nevada): averaged a 5.8 rating on ESPN in Baltimore, the highest cable ranking in that market in December, with the exception of four ESPN Monday Night Football games.
Chick-Fil-A Bowl (Dec. 31, Georgia Tech vs. LSU): averaged a 17.3 rating on ESPN in New Orleans, the highest-rated bowl there ever on ESPN or ESPN2.
International Bowl (Jan. 3, Buffalo vs. Connecticut): averaged a 16.5 rating on ESPN2 in Buffalo, the highest-rated bowl there ever on ESPN or ESPN2.