'BCS National Championship': Cable's Second Biggest Audience of All Time

Categories: Network TV Press Releases

Written By

January 8th, 2013

via press release:

BCS National Championship: Cable’s Second Biggest Audience of All Time

ESPN Wins the Night, Five-Game BCS Viewership up 7 Percent

Big College Football Audience for ESPN’s Digital Platforms


ESPN’s telecast of the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) National Championship – No. 2 Alabama’s 42-14 victory over No. 1 and previously unbeaten Notre Dame – attracted the second largest audience of any program in cable television history, an average of 17,216,000 households (17.5 Fast National household coverage rating), according to Nielsen. The average of 26,380,000 viewers (P2+) and the US household rating (15.1) were also second best in cable history and the 17.5 coverage rating is ESPN’s second-highest of all time.


The only larger audience and US rating in cable television history was the 2011 BCS Championship on ESPN (17,718,000 homes and 27,316,000 people, based on an ESPN record 17.8 coverage rating, a 15.3 US rating), a 22-19 Auburn victory over Oregon decided by a field goal as time expired.


The rating for the 8:30 p.m. ET telecast peaked at a 20.4 (household coverage rating) between 9 – 9:30 p.m. The first half (8:30 – 10 p.m.) earned a 20.4, compared to a 17.9 for the record-holding 2011 championship game.


The game earned notable local ratings in a variety of markets:

  • · Birmingham averaged a 55.1 rating, best of all metered markets, making it the third-highest-rated bowl game on the ESPN networks in this market (behind only the previous two BCS title games – 67.0 in 2011 and 61.2 last year)
  • · 17 markets delivered their highest-rated bowl game ever on the ESPN networks, including Chicago with an 18.5.
  • · Records date back to 2000


The 17.5 rating was 8 percent higher than last year (16.2) while the average of 17,216,000 households was up 7 percent (from 16,072,000) and the average viewership (26,380,000, P2+) was up 9 percent (from 24,214,000).


Five-Game BCS Average

ESPN’s presentation of the five BCS bowl games averaged 15,131,000 viewers, up 7 percent from last year (14,080,000). The games averaged a 10.1 rating (8.8 US rating) and 9,999,000 homes, up 4 and 3 percent, respectively (9.8 coverage / 8.4 US; 9,678,000).


ESPN Digital Media

The number of fans engaged through ESPN apps on Monday increased dramatically over 2012.

  • · The college football card on ESPN’s redesigned ScoreCenter app had an average minute audience of more than 2,000, up more than four times (+303 percent) over last year.
  • · The ESPN College Football app had an average minute audience of more than 4,000, up nearly triple (+192 percent) over ESPN’s Bowl Bound app in 2012.
  • · Football content on ESPN.com saw an average minute audience on Monday of nearly 22,000, an increase of 70 percent over 2012.
  • · On ESPN Mobile Web, the average minute audience for the college football section was up 47 percent over a year ago.
  • Derrick

    ratings sucked because of the blowout.

  • snoot

    I’m guessing South Bend is not a metered market? Probably too small. I would be interested in its ratings though.

  • Yeah

    Bama >>>>>>>> Notre Lame.

    Forrest Gump >>>>>>>> Rudy.

    Notre Lame Fighting Catholic Sanduskies are trash. Their fans probably took their frustration out on little boys.

  • David Howell

    Up on every year except last year, despite the game being a blowout. Now that’s impressive.

  • Mr Mikey

    Where are Monday’s cable ratings? A little late um?

  • Matthew

    Roll Tide Roll!!!!

  • Derrick

    hopefully this will make the BCS and NCAA realize this game shouldnt be on cable.

    Have no idea how espn won this deal. You would think that the other networks would jump at the chance of broadcasting any of the bowl games during Christmas when they dont have anything else on.

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