According to ESPN based on Nielsen’s overnight ratings, ESPN’s two BCS Bowls on New Year’s Day – the Rose Bowl Game presented the Fiesta Bowl – saw an 11 percent increase in combined average audience with an 8.9 rating. Last year’s two BCS games on January 1 averaged an 8.0 overnight rating (Rose Bowl, Orange Bowl).
The Rose Bowl Game’s 11.2 rating for Michigan State’s 24-20 victory over Stanford was 17 percent higher than the 9.6 a year ago (Stanford 20, Wisconsin 14). Detroit, the top-rated market, averaged a 27.9 metered market rating, the highest-rated bowl game ever on the ESPN networks in the market (records go back to 2000). Los Angeles averaged a 13.2, the second-highest bowl game ever on the ESPN networks in the market (The highest was the 2011 BCS Championship in 2011, 14.6 for the 22-19 Auburn victory over Oregon).
The Fiesta Bowl garnered a 7.1 overnight rating for Central Florida upending Baylor 52-42, up nine percent from the 2013 Orange Bowl, which aired in the corresponding day/time slot (6.5, Florida State defeating Northern Illinois 31-10). Orlando led all markets with a 17.4, the highest bowl overnight rating ever for an ESPN network in the market.
Chick-Fil-A Bowl Tops All Non-BCS Games in ESPN History
ESPN’s telecast of the Chick-Fil-A Bowl from Atlanta, Tuesday, Dec. 31, earned a 5.3 overnight rating, the best ever for any ESPN bowl game telecast outside the BCS. The exciting game saw Texas A&M come from behind to edge Duke 52-48 behind the heroics of 2012 Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel – four touchdown passes and one running.
ESPN & the BCS
ESPN’s fourth year of exclusive coverage of the five BCS matchups will continue tonight with the Allstate Sugar Bowl (Oklahoma vs. Alabama, Thursday, Jan. 2), Discover Orange Bowl (Clemson vs. Ohio State, Friday, Jan. 3) and VIZIO BCS National Championship Game (No. 1 Florida State vs. No. 2 Auburn, Monday, Jan. 6).