SBD/January 11, 2012/Media

ESPN Rating For Bama-LSU Down, With Five-Game BCS Audience Lowest Yet

Alabama-LSU was lowest-rated BCS Championship since USC-Oklahoma in '05

ESPN earned a 14.0 U.S. rating and 24.2 million viewers for Monday night’s Alabama-LSU BCS National Championship, down 8.5% and 11.4%, respectively, from a 15.3 rating and 27.3 million viewers for last year’s Auburn-Oregon matchup. The audience ranks as both ESPN’s and cable TV’s second-largest audience ever behind last year’s game. The rating for the game marks the lowest-rated, but not least-viewed, BCS Championship game since it became a standalone event in '07 (Austin Karp, THE DAILY). CBSSPORTS.com's Dennis Dodd noted the rating "would suggest that the SEC has been so dominant that the BCS is in danger of becoming a regional sport." The public, it "would seem, needs a change." That is one reason why conference commissioners met yesterday in New Orleans "to begin digging down deep on major changes to the system." BCS ratings are "down 10 percent from last year and 21 percent from when Fox last had the contract in 2009" (CBSSPORTS.com, 1/10). In California, Earl Bloom asked, "What if the BCS Championship was an SEC rematch, and the rest of the county didn’t care?" That is "exactly what happened in New Orleans on Monday night." Bloom: "The one-sided nature of the duel ... couldn't keep me from flipping back and forth to the Knicks-Hornets game" (OCREGISTER.com, 1/10).

BCS NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME AUDIENCE TREND
YR
DAY
GAME
NET
RAT.
VIEWERS (000)
'12
Mon.
Alabama-LSU
ESPN
14.0
24,214
'11
Mon.
Auburn-Oregon
ESPN
15.3
27,316
'10
Thurs.
Alabama-Texas
ABC
17.2
30,776
'09
Thurs.
Florida-Oklahoma
Fox
15.8
26,767
'08
Mon.
LSU-Ohio State
Fox
14.4
23,069
'07
Mon.
Florida-Ohio State
Fox
17.4
28,795
'06
Wed.
Texas-USC (Rose Bowl)
ABC
21.7
35,630
'05
Tues.
USC-Oklahoma (Orange Bowl)
ABC
13.7
21,419
'04
Sun.
LSU-Oklahoma (Sugar Bowl)
ABC
14.8
23,937
'03
Fri.
Ohio State-Miami (Fiesta Bowl)
ABC
17.2
29,104
'02
Thurs.
Miami-Nebraska (Rose Bowl)
ABC
13.8
21,559
'01
Wed.
Oklahoma-Florida State (Orange Bowl)
ABC
17.8
27,240
'00
Tues.
Florida State-Virginia Tech (Sugar Bowl)
ABC
17.5
26,962
'99
Mon.
Tennessee-Florida State (Fiesta Bowl)
ABC
17.2
26,112
           

AUDIENCE DROP: ESPN averaged an 8.4 U.S. rating and 14.0 million viewers for its coverage of the five BCS games this season, marking lowest average audience for the BCS game since the current postseason format debuted in ’99. This season’s averages were also down 12.5% and 16.2%, respectively, from a 9.6 rating and 16.7 million viewers. Included among the drop in overall BCS ratings this season was West Virginia's blowout of Clemson in the Discover Orange Bowl, which marked the lowest-rated BCS game yet under the current system. Compared to ’10, which was the last time the BCS games aired completely on broadcast TV (Fox/ABC), this year’s average audience is down 22.9% and 27.3%, respectively (Karp).

VIEWERSHIP TREND FOR FIVE BCS BOWL GAMES
YEAR
NET(S)
RATING
VIEWERS (000)
'12
ESPN
8.4
14,018
'11
ESPN
9.6
16,729
'10
Fox/ABC
10.9
19,278
'09
Fox/ABC
10.3
17,595
'08
Fox/ABC
9.4
15,554
'07
Fox/ABC
11.1
18,123

 

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