When the Longhorns dramatically stunned the USC Trojans in 2006, it became the most watched national championship game (35.6 million viewers) of the BCS era. But heavy star power – with names like Young, Leinart, and Bush – and an opponent from the second highest media market (Los Angeles) had a lot to with that.
MOST WATCHED BCS CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES, SINCE 1999 RANK DATE BOWL TEAMS AVG # OF VIEWERS 1 1/4/2006 * Rose Texas vs. USC 35,630,000 2 1/3/2003 Fiesta Ohio State vs. Miami 29,104,000 3 1/8/2007 * BCS Florida vs. Ohio State 28,795,000 4 1/3/2001 Orange Oklahoma vs. Florida State 27,240,000 5 1/1/2000 Sugar Florida State vs Virginia Tech 26,962,000 Source: The Nielsen Company
* – Live + Same Day Viewing Estimates On This Page Include DVR Playback On The Same Day, Defined As 3AM-3AM
One thing’s for sure: the teams’ home markets will certainly be watching in full force. When Alabama defeated Florida in the SEC Championship Game last month, a whopping 50.2% of all TV households in the Birmingham market were tuned in. Meanwhile 32.3% of Austin’s TV households tuned in to Texas’s narrow 13-12 win over Nebraska in the Big 12 Championship Game.
Here’s all the ratings we have on past college football championship games.
|Number of||Number of|
|1/7/2008 *||BCS||FOX||14.4||22||16,291,000||23,069,000||LSU vs. Ohio State|
|1/8/2007 *||BCS||FOX||17.4||27||19,378,000||28,795,000||Florida vs. Ohio State|
|1/4/2006 *||Rose||ABC||21.7||35||23,928,000||35,630,000||Texas vs. USC|
|1/4/05||Orange||ABC||13.7||22||14,996,000||21,419,000||USC vs. Oklahoma|
|1/4/04||Sugar||ABC||14.8||23||16,047,000||23,937,000||LSU vs. Oklahoma|
|1/3/03||Fiesta||ABC||17.2||29||18,385,000||29,104,000||Ohio State vs. Miami|
|1/3/02||Rose||ABC||13.8||22||14,548,000||21,559,000||Miami (Florida) vs Nebraska|
|1/3/01||Orange||ABC||17.8||28||18,200,000||27,240,000||Oklahoma vs. Florida State|
|1/1/00||Sugar||ABC||17.5||28||17,680,000||26,962,000||Florida State vs Virginia Tech|
|1/4/99||Fiesta||ABC||17.2||26||17,081,000||26,112,000||Tennessee vs Florida State|
|1/1/98||Rose||ABC||17.6||32||17,294,000||28,989,000||Michigan vs Washington State|
|1/2/97||Sugar||ABC||17.9||29||17,330,000||25,735,050||Florida vs Florida State|
|1/2/96||Fiesta||CBS||18.8||31||18,030,000||27,883,000||Nebraska vs Florida|
|1/1/95||Orange||NBC||18.9||31||18,031,000||30,000,000||Nebraska vs Miami (Florida)|
|1/1/94||Orange||NBC||17.8||31||16,768,000||28,814,000||Florida State vs Nebraska|
|1/1/93||Sugar||ABC||18.2||31||16,940,000||30,136,260||Alabama vs Miami (Florida)|
|1/1/92||Orange||NBC||11.0||18||10,130,000||16,591,000||Miami (Florida) vs Nebraska|
|1//1991||Orange||NBC||18.3||30||17,040,000||29,600,000||Colorado vs Notre Dame|
*Note: Live + Same Day Viewing Estimates On This Page Include DVR Playback On The Same Day, Defined As 3AM-3AM. All other years are Live viewing only.