There’s been no shortage of criticism surrounding the College Football postseason – even the President-elect threw in his two cents – but there’s no denying the bowl season still generates a huge amount of viewer interest.
There is no better bellwether than this year’s BCS National Championship between Oklahoma and Florida. Last night’s FedEx BCS National Championship received a 15.8 rating, up 16% from last year’s game.
In the metered markets, Oklahoma City had the highest local rating, with 51.7% of the Sooners’ home DMA tuning into the game. Five local Florida markets also made the top ten, led by Jacksonville with a 40.2 local rating.
Top 10 Local Markets HH Rating 1/8/09
BCS National Championship
|Tampa-St. Pete (Sarasota)||32.3|
|West Palm Beach-Ft. Pierce||29.5|
|Source: 2009 The Nielsen Company|
Viewership for the other four BCS bowls was also up compared to last year. The Fiesta Bowl between Ohio State and Texas was up 40%, the Sugar Bowl was up 14%, and viewership for the Rose Bowl increased 8%.
Outside the BCS, the positive trend continued with 17 of 27 bowls outperforming last year’s ratings. Most notable were four bowl games airing on ESPN that boasted triple-digit increases in viewership:
- The Humanitarian Bowl between Maryland and Nevada was seen by 3 million viewers, a whopping 218% increase over last year’s game.
- The Hawaii Bowl was proof that Notre Dame still can still deliver a large audience (and a victory), in front of 4.4 million viewers up 119% over last year’s game.
- The Poinsettia Bowl on Dec.23 and the GMAC Bowl on Jan. 6 showed that there is demand for Bowls well before and after New Year’s, sporting 115% and 113% increases in viewers, respectively.
Below is a full recap of national viewers for this year’s bowl games.
|2008-9 College Football Bowl Game National Viewers|
|BOWL||NETWORK||MATCHUP||VIEWERS P2+||% Change YAGO|
|CAPITAL ONE||ABC||GEORGIA/MICHIGAN STATE||10,839,000||-27%|
|CHAMPS SPORTS||ESPN||WISCONSIN/FLORIDA STATE||7,059,000||51%|
|MEINEKE CAR CARE||ESPN||WEST VIRGINIA/NORTH CAROLINA||5,881,000||26%|
|MUSIC CITY||ESPN||BOSTON COLLEGE/VANDERBILT||3,646,000||-31%|
|MOTOR CITY||ESPN||FLORIDA ATLANTIC/CENTRAL MICH||3,437,000||1%|
|NEW MEXICO||ESPN||COLORADO ST/FRESNO ST||3,432,000||46%|
|ARMED FORCES||ESPN||HOUSTON/AIR FORCE||2,050,000||-21%|
|ST. PETERSBURG||ESPN2||MEMPHIS/SOUTH FLORIDA||1,661,000||NEW|
|INDEPENDENCE||ESPN||NORTHERN ILLINOIS/LA TECH||1,207,000||-53%|
|NEW ORLEANS||ESPN||SOUTHERN MISS/TROY||1,115,000||-48%|
|Source: 2009 The Nielsen Company
Covereage Area Estimates (% of US TV Homes): ESPN 86%, ESPN2 85%, NFLN 37%. Live + Same Day Viewing
NOTE: This table was updated on 1/9/09 at 5:10pm.