SBD/January 6, 2011/Media

ESPN Gets First Window-To-Window BCS Gain With Sugar Bowl

ESPN earned an 8.2 U.S. Nielsen rating and 13.635 million viewers for Tuesday night's Ohio State-Arkansas Allstate Sugar Bowl, which is up 20.6% and 25.3%, respectively, from a 6.8 rating and 10.879 million viewers for the comparable Iowa-Georgia Tech Orange Bowl on Fox in '10. The increase marks ESPN's first BCS window-to-window ratings/viewership gain thus far when compared to last year's games, and delivers ESPN its second-best non-NFL audience ever behind this year's Rose Bowl. Ohio State-Arkansas, however, is down 3.5% and 12.2%, respectively, from an 8.5 U.S. rating and 15.533 million viewers for the Florida-Cincinnati Allstate Sugar Bowl last year on Fox, which aired in primetime on New Year's Day (Austin Karp, THE DAILY).

SUGAR BOWL RATINGS, VIEWERSHIP TREND
YEAR
MATCHUP
NET
DAY
RAT.
VIEWERS (000)
'11
Ohio State-Arkansas
ESPN
Tues.
8.2
13,635
'10
Florida-Cincinnati
Fox
Fri.
8.5
15,533
'09
Utah-Alabama
Fox
Fri.
7.8
13,369
'08
Georgia-Hawaii
Fox
Tues.
7.0
11,702
'07
LSU-Notre Dame
Fox
Wed.
9.3
14,417
 
 
 
 
 
 

POWER OF THE PEOPLE: FANHOUSE.com's David Steele noted there is "no end of complaints and tirades directed" at the BCS, and "suggestions on how to tweak, alter, destroy or replace the system span the spectrum." Yet the "idea that gets the least mileage, it seems, is this: stop watching the games." Steele wrote that is the "only idea that can work," the "only weapon the public has in its arsenal." As long as TV ratings, "measurable interest and intangible buzz all remain high, the powers-that-be in college football will always be able to quantify their reasons for sticking with the system." There will "never be a concern that there won't be a bidder the next time the TV contract comes up," and there will "never be a shortage of corporate backers for the naming rights, commercials and other sponsorship" (FANHOUSE.com, 1/5).

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