SBD/January 8, 2013/Media

Despite Blowout, ESPN's BCS Championship Overnight Best On Cable In Two Years

Birmingham led all markets with a 55.1 local rating for last night's BCS title game

ESPN earned a 15.7 overnight Nielsen rating for Alabama’s 42-14 victory over Notre Dame in the BCS National Championship last night, up 14% from last year’s 13.8 overnight for the Alabama-LSU matchup. The 15.7 overnight marks the highest for any program on cable TV in two years, dating back to the '11 Auburn-Oregon BCS National Championship, which earned a 16.1 overnight. The Alabama-Notre Dame game also delivered ESPN a win among all networks in primetime last night. Birmingham led all markets with a 55.1 local rating, marking the third-best ESPN bowl rating ever in the market. Overall, 17 markets set local ratings records. The game peaked at a 19.0 rating during the 9:00-9:15pm ET quarter hour (game aired from 8:30-11:30pm). ESPN averaged a 9.0 overnight for its five BCS game telecasts, up 6% from an 8.5 rating last year (Austin Karp, THE DAILY). SI.com's Richard Deitsch writes, "Any hopes ESPN harbored of recording record viewership numbers were squashed before the clock struck 10 p.m. on the East Coast" (SI.com, 1/8).

BCS CHAMPIONSHIP OVERNIGHT RATINGS TREND
YEAR
NET
DAY
MATCHUP
OVERNIGHT
'13
ESPN
Mon.
Alabama-Notre Dame
15.7
'12
ESPN
Mon.
Alabama-LSU
13.8
'11
ESPN
Mon.
Auburn-Oregon
16.1
'10
ABC
Thurs.
Alabama-Texas
18.2
'09
Fox
Thurs.
Florida-Oklahoma
16.8
'08
Fox
Mon.
LSU-Ohio State
15.6
'07
Fox
Mon.
Florida-Ohio State
19.1
'06
ABC
Wed.
Texas-USC (Rose Bowl)
22.7
'05
ABC
Tues.
USC-Oklahoma (Orange Bowl)
14.7
'04
ABC
Sun.
LSU-Oklahoma (Sugar Bowl)
14.4
'03
ABC
Fri.
Ohio State-Miami (Fiesta Bowl)
18.6
'02
ABC
Thurs.
Miami-Nebraska (Rose Bowl)
14.3
'01
ABC
Wed.
Oklahoma-Florida State (Orange Bowl)
17.8
'00
ABC
Tues.
Florida State-Virginia Tech (Sugar Bowl)
16.7
'99
ABC
Mon.
Tennessee-Florida State (Fiesta Bowl)
17.1
       
'13 BCS CHAMPIONSHIP QUARTER-HOUR BREAKDOWN
WINDOW (ET)
RATING
8:30-8:45pm
16.7
8:45-9:00pm
18.7
9:00-9:15pm
19.0
9:15-9:30pm
18.5
9:30-9:45pm
18.2
9:45-10:00pm
18.1
10:00-10:15pm
13.2
10:15-10:30pm
14.2
10:30-10:45pm.
14.7
10:45-11:00pm
13.7
11:00-11:15pm
12.3
11:15-11:30pm
11.2
   

REVIEWS ARE IN: SI.com's Deitsch writes ESPN's Brent Musburger and Kirk Herbstreit "grinded out a solid performance," and the broadcast "was in sync early." ESPN added "extra cameras for the game -- the network had 39 in total -- and it paid off for viewers." Musburger was "forceful" when discussing a first quarter play in which Notre Dame S Matthias Farley was flagged for fair catch interference on Alabama WR Christion Jones, causing Jones to fumble. Musburger yelled, "Horrendous call. It should be Fighting Irish football. What is going on here?" Deitsch notes ESPN after the play "quickly brought in NCAA national officiating coordinator Rogers Redding, who contradicted the broadcast team and said that it was the correct call." That was a "good moment for viewers" (SI.com, 1/8). In Birmingham, Jon Solomon writes it was a "solid but sometimes uneven ESPN broadcast." The net "as usual ... offered terrific visuals and crisp replays." Technically speaking, "there's not a better college football broadcast in the business." College football fans are "better off that ESPN won the rights to the future playoff beginning in the 2014 season." Herbstreit continued to show "why he's one of college football's best analysts," but ESPN "most likely experienced a ratings loser given its high expectations" (BIRGMINGHAM NEWS, 1/8). 

MEDIA BLITZ: USA TODAY reported about 875 media credentials "were issued for the game, and that didn't include ESPN's requests for its television purposes." The Orange Bowl Committee said that in all, about 1,225 applications "were received." Both numbers were "slightly ahead of the pace for last season's Alabama-LSU game in New Orleans" (USA TODAY, 1/7).

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