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Sports Wrap NCAA Football Season Review, Heisman Preview
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Sports Wrap NCAA Football Season Review, Heisman Preview

National Ratings [updated 12/12]

Last Saturday’s SEC Championship added another notch to a record-breaking year in sports television. The Florida Gators defeated the Alabama Crimson Tide in front of 15.1 million CBS viewers and 9.3% of the nation’s households, making it the most watched SEC Championship ever and the highest rating for a non-bowl college game since 2006.

Meanwhile, ABC’s Saturday Night Football had its own share of ratings success with six of the top seven rated contests this season. The network averaged 8.2 million viewers and a 5.0 household rating for its eleven primetime broadcasts in 2008, up 29% over last year.

The top ten rated games were also dominated by BIG 12 Conference matchups, with seven of the top nine broadcasts this year. Notably, the annual Red River Rivalry between Texas and Oklahoma was the ninth highest rated broadcast of the 2008 season, despite its early 12PM ET start time.

Top Rated 10 NCAA Football National Telecasts 2008
Rank Date Time Matchup HH Rating Viewers P2+
1 12/06 4:00 PM – CBS SEC CHAMPIONSHIP : ALABAMA vs. FLORIDA 9.3 15,061,000
2 11/01 8:00 PM – ABC TEXAS vs. TEXAS TECH 7.5 12,204,000
3 09/13 8:00 PM – ABC OHIO STATE vs. USC 6.9 11,800,000
4 11/22 8:00 PM – ABC TEXAS TECH vs. OKLAHOMA 6.6 10,742,000
5 10/25 8:00 PM – ABC PENN STATE vs. OHIO STATE 6.4 10,367,000
6 11/29 8:00 PM – ABC OKLAHOMA vs. OKLAHOMA STATE 5.7 9,525,000
7 12/06 8:00 PM – ABC BIG 12 CHAMPIONSHIP : MISSOURI vs. OKLAHOMA 5.5 8,762,000
8 11/08 8:00 PM – ABC OK ST vs. TX TECH; CA vs. USC 5.3 8,483,000
9 10/11 12:00 PM- ABC TEXAS vs. OKLAHOMA 5.2 7,726,000
10 11/08 3:30 PM – CBS ALABAMA vs. LSU 5.1 8,137,000
©2008 The Nielsen Company

Local Ratings

An analysis of local markets reveals that the University of Alabama had the highest local ratings of any BCS team in a metered market. On average, 40.1% of the Birmingham market tuned in to Crimson Tide games this year, for an average local audience of 296,000 households.

Up north, Columbus, OH upheld its reputation as one of the most sports-obsessed U.S. cities, with an impressive 32.1% of the market – or an average of 295,000 households – tuning in to Ohio State Buckeye games.

The top-ranked Oklahoma Sooners pulled a booming 32.1% of the Oklahoma City market, good for 220,000 households.

BCS TOP 10 Teams: Average Local Ratings
TEAM METERED MARKET HH RATING* HH VIEWERS
OKLAHOMA OKLAHOMA CITY 32.1 220,000
FLORIDA** TAMPA -ST. PETE 9.4 170,000
TEXAS AUSTIN 23.1 153,000
ALABAMA BIRMINGHAM 40.1 296,000
USC LOS ANGELES 6 338,000
UTAH SALT LAKE CITY 5.3 47,000
TEXAS TECH** DALLAS 7.1 176,000
PENN STATE PITTSBURGH / PHILADELPHIA 8.8 / 8 102,000 / 236,000
BOISE ST.** PORTLAND 2.2 25,000
OHIO ST. COLUMBUS 32.1 295,000
©2008 The Nielsen Company

**University located within Diary Market; nearest Metered Market substituted.

Click here for the 56 Metered Markets and Universe Estimates

Heisman Trophy Preview

One of sports’ most storied trophies will be awarded on Saturday at Manhattan’s Downtown Athletic Club. The Heisman finalists are a trio of QB’s- Florida’s Tim Tebow, Texas’ Colt McCoy, and Oklahoma’s Sam Bradford – who starred in front of large television audiences this season, including six of the highest rated national games in 2008. Tebow will attempt to repeat last year’s victory, and become only the second player in history to win two Heisman trophies. Last year’s broadcast on ESPN was watched by 4.3 million viewers, the most for the ceremony this decade.