via press release:
College Football Generates Record Audiences
BCS Title Game Third Most-Viewed Cable Program Ever; Most-Viewed Non-BCS Bowls; Second & Fifth Most-Viewed Days; Birmingham Tops All Markets
ESPN’s extensive coverage of the 2013-14 college football season – 367 exclusive regular-season games and 33 bowl game telecasts – concluded with multiple viewership highlights:
- Bowl Championship Series (BCS) generates the third most-viewed program in cable television history and helps ESPN to score its second and fifth most-viewed days ever
- ESPN posts 9 percent increase in overall BCS viewership over last season
- ESPN and ESPN2 televise their most-viewed non-BCS bowls ever
- Birmingham leads all markets for 29 ESPN bowl telecasts with an 11. 9
- Millions of fans watch regular-season college football action on ESPN networks
Bowl Championship Series
ESPN’s coverage of the final BCS included cable television’s third most-viewed and third highest-rated program in history, ESPN’s second and fifth most-viewed days ever and a 9 percent viewership increase for the five game telecasts.
- ESPN’s telecast of the VIZIO BCS National Championship – No. 1 Florida State over No. 2 Auburn 34-31 – was the third most-viewed and highest-rated program in cable television history. A “BCS Megacast” presentation of the title game averaged 26,061,000 viewers and a 14.8 US HH rating across ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNEWS (television ratings for the additional five platforms offering coverage are not available). WatchESPN generated 773,000 unique viewers and an average minute audience of 252,000 for fans that viewed the BCS Megacast across ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNEWS, ESPN3 and ESPN Goal Line collectively. The ESPN-only telecast of the matchup averaged 25,572,000 viewers and a 14.4 US HH rating.
- The five BCS bowl games averaged 16,549,000 viewers and a 9.4 US HH rating, up nine percent (vs. 15,131,000) and 7 percent (vs. 8.8), respectively, over last year’s five BCS games. In addition to television, WatchESPN averaged 329,000 live unique viewers (up 52 percent), 20,300,000 live minutes viewed (up 86 percent) and an average minute audience of 92,000 (up 64%) for the five bowl games.
- ESPN kicked off 2014 with two of its top five most-viewed and highest-rated days ever. The January 1 schedule – highlighted by an Outback Bowl, Rose Bowl Game Presented by VIZIO and Tostitos Fiesta Bowl tripleheader – averaged 6,299,000 viewers and a 3.7 US HH rating, making it the network’s second most-viewed day ever. ESPN’s lineup for January 6 – led by the BCS National Championship – averaged 5,835,000 viewers and a 3.5 US HH rating, the network’s fifth most-viewed and highest-rated day ever.
- On Twitter, BCS championship generated 1.2 million unique authors and 4.4 million total tweets, up 10 percent compared to the previous year (source: Nielsen SocialGuide) and accounted for 60 percent of all TV-related tweets that day.
ESPN & ESPN2 Most-Viewed Non-BCS Bowls; Growth for WatchESPN
The post-season schedule also included the most-viewed non-BCS bowls in ESPN and ESPN2 history. ESPN’s New Year’s Eve telecast of the Chick-fil-A Bowl – No. 21 Texas A&M’s thrilling 52-48 victory over No. 24 Duke – drew the network’s largest audience, averaging 8,689,000 viewers based on a 5.0 US HH rating. ESPN2 scored its most-viewed game ever on New Year’s Day, averaging 4,518,000 viewers and a 2.6 US HH rating for the Taxslayer.com Gator Bowl – a 24-19 Nebraska win over No. 22 Georgia.