ESPN's telecast of the Allstate Sugar Bowl on January 2 garnered the highest overnight rating for the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) Bowl since 2007. The game - No. 11 Oklahoma over No. 3 Alabama 45-31 - averaged a 9.3 overnight rating for a 45 percent increase over ESPN's 2013 January 2 BCS matchup, which was also the Allstate Sugar Bowl (a 6.4 overnight rating for No. 21 Louisville beating No. 3 Florida 33-23).
ESPN's first three Bowl Championship Series telecasts of 2014 - the Rose Bowl Game Presented by VIZIO, Tostitos Fiesta Bowl and Allstate Sugar Bowl - combined is averaging a 9.1 metered market rating, according to Nielsen. The three-game average marks an increase of 21 percent over a 7.5 average overnight rating for the first three BCS bowls in 2013 (Rose Bowl Game Presented by VIZIO, Discover Orange Bowl and Allstate Sugar Bowl).
Fans also turned to WatchESPN to follow the matchup, spending 17.8 million minutes on the game (up 206 percent), the highest amount for a College Football game on the platform this year. The bowl also garnered an average minute audience of 76,000, a 158 percent increase over last season. Combined, the three games averaged 15.8 million live minutes viewed ( up 72 percent) and an average minute audience of 71,000 (up 54 percent).
Birmingham led all markets for the telecast with a 50.1 rating, marking the fourth highest overnight for a bowl game on ESPN in the market (the other three were BCS Championship matchups). Oklahoma City was the second highest rated market with a 34.7 followed by Tulsa (33.5 rating - which is the highest rating for a bowl on ESPN in the market), New Orleans (23.9), Nashville (18.7), Austin (17.8), Knoxville (17.6), Memphis (17.4), Atlanta (16.6) and Jacksonville (16.2).
Rose Bowl Presented by VIZIO & Tostitos Fiesta Bowl
Based on Nielsen's Fast National ratings, the 2014 Rose Bowl Game Presented by VIZIO stands as the most-viewed program on cable television since the 2013 BCS National Championship. ESPN's telecast of No. 4 Michigan State over No. 5 Stanford averaged 18,636,000 viewers based on a 10.2 US HH rating. The coverage is up 9 percent (vs. 17,024,000 and 9.4 US HH rating) over the 2013 Rose Bowl in the same window.
ESPN's Tostitos Fiesta Bowl telecast of No. 15 Central Florida State vs. No. 6 Baylor was the most-viewed program of the night - broadcast or cable - with an average of 11,235,000 viewers and a 6.6 US HH rating. The 2014 game showed viewership and ratings increases of 6 percent (vs. 10,562,000) and 8 percent (6.1 US HH rating) over ESPN's 2013 New Year's Day prime time BCS bowl, the 2013 Orange Bowl, No. 12 Florida defeating No. 15 Northern Illinois 31-10.
ESPN & the BCS
ESPN's fourth year of exclusive coverage of the five BCS matchups will continue tonight with the Discover Orange Bowl (No. 12 Clemson vs. No. 7 Ohio State, Friday, Jan. 3) and VIZIO BCS National Championship (No. 1 Florida State vs. No. 2 Auburn, Monday, Jan. 6), both at 8:30 p.m.