SBD/January 4, 2011/Media

Orange Bowl Marks Third-Best ESPN College Football Overnight

Stanford-Virginia Tech Orange Bowl On ESPN Down Slightly From Fox' Telecast Last Year

ESPN earned a 7.1 overnight Nielsen rating for last night's Discover Orange Bowl, which saw Stanford rout Virginia Tech 40-12. The rating marks ESPN's third-best college football overnight ever, behind only Saturday's Rose Bowl and the September '09 USC-Ohio State telecast. ESPN3.com also saw 182,000 unique viewers for last night's game. Stanford-Virginia Tech on ESPN is down 17.4% from the comparable Boise State-TCU Tostitos Fiesta Bowl last year, which aired on a Monday night last year on Fox. This year's Orange Bowl is also down 1.4% from a 7.2 overnight for last year's Iowa-Georgia Tech matchup on Fox, which aired on a Tuesday night (THE DAILY).

FINAL SCORE: ESPN earned an 11.3 U.S. rating and 20.558 million viewers for the TCU-Wisconsin Rose Bowl, marking the third largest audience ever on cable TV. Only two "MNF" broadcasts from '09 -- Packers-Vikings and Patriots-Saints -- attracted more viewers. Compared to last year’s Ohio State-Oregon Rose Bowl on ABC, TCU-Wisconsin is down 14.4% in both ratings and viewership. ESPN also earned a 6.2 U.S. rating and 10.819 million viewers for the Oklahoma-Connecticut Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, marking the net’s second-largest non-NFL audience ever. The game is down 27.1% and 30.3%, respectively, from an 8.5 rating and 15.533 million viewers for the comparable Allstate Sugar Bowl on Fox last year. Compared to last year’s Fiesta Bowl, which aired on a Monday night on Fox, this year’s telecast is down 24.4% and 21.7%, respectively (THE DAILY). USA TODAY's Michael Hiestand writes whether the ratings declines for the Rose and Fiesta bowls are "due to weaker matchups or the shift to cable could be answered as ESPN shows the other games" (USA TODAY, 1/4). Meanwhile, ESPN earned a 30.0 local rating and 270,330 HHs in the Milwaukee market for the Rose Bowl (JSONLINE.com, 1/3).

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