SBD/6/Collegiate Sports

SUGAR BOWL RATINGS JUMP WITH FINAL NATIONAL: UP 2% OVER '99

          ABC's coverage of Tuesday's Sugar Bowl earned a 17.5/28
     fast national Nielsen rating, up 2% from last year's
     comparable 17.2/26 for the Fiesta Bowl (ABC).  ABC estimates
     that 56 million viewers tuned in to the game.  Meanwhile,
     USA TODAY's Rudy Martzke writes the four BCS Bowls -- Sugar,
     Rose, Orange and Fiesta -- averaged a 13.2 rating, up 4%
     over last year's 12.6 average (USA TODAY, 1/6).  On "Biz
     Buzz," Beverly Schuch reported ABC Sports "had a lot to
     cheer about" with the Sugar Bowl rating (CNNfn, 1/5).  DAILY
     VARIETY's Tom Bierbaum writes the Sugar Bowl "attracted
     26.98 million viewers during an average minute," compared to
     last year's Fiesta Bowl which averaged 26.11 million
     viewers.  The game "finished behind only last January's
     Super Bowl in total viewers and adults 18-34 among major
     championship sporting events televised over the last 12
     months, outscoring college basketball's championship game in
     March."  The bowl tied with the men's college basketball
     championship for second in adults 18-49, with Game Four of
     the World Series just ahead of the Sugar Bowl for second
     place in households (DAILY VARIETY, 1/6).  
          BUT NOT EVERYONE IS HAPPY: In DC, Michael Wilbon
     addresses criticism of the BCS format and calls for a
     playoff format: "I think a college football playoff might
     quickly grow to be as big as March Madness for the simple
     reason that football is bigger in America than basketball." 
     More Wilbon: "You know why professional wrestling works? 
     Its promoters understand what people want, find the sponsors
     to pay the freight, and give it to them.  You would think
     university presidents and conference commissioners would
     have that much savvy, wouldn't you?" (WASHINGTON POST, 1/6). 
          BOWL NOTE: In Idaho, Mike Prather reported that
     Humanitarian Bowl President Steve Schmader "has resigned,"
     and the Boise River Festival management team "no longer will
     run" the bowl game.  Bowl host school Boise State and host
     conference the Big West are now "searching for a new
     management team to run" the game (IDAHO STATESMAN, 1/5). 

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