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Volume 24 No. 133
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ESPN Overnight For Louisville-Florida Up Slightly From Last Year's Sugar Bowl Matchup

ESPN averaged a 6.4 overnight Nielsen rating for last night’s Louisville-Florida Allstate Sugar Bowl, up slightly from a 6.3 overnight for the Michigan-Virginia Tech matchup in last year’s Sugar Bowl. Louisville topped all markets for the game with a 28.4 local rating, which marks ESPN’s best bowl game rating ever in the market (dating back to 2000). Through three BCS bowl telecasts, ESPN is averaging a 7.5 overnight, up 9% from the three corresponding games last year (ESPN).

NEW YEAR’S DAY: ESPN finished with a 9.4 U.S. rating and 17.0 million viewers for the Stanford-Wisconsin Rose Bowl, down 8% and 3%, respectively, from the Oregon-Wisconsin matchup last year. The audience is the lowest on record for a Rose Bowl telecast, which switched from ABC to ESPN in ’11. The net also averaged a 6.1 rating and 10.6 million viewers for Florida State’s win over Northern Illinois in the Discover Orange Bowl, up 36% and 47%, respectively, from the West Virginia-Clemson Orange Bowl last year, which remains the lowest-rated BCS game since the current postseason system debuted in '99. The New Year’s Day primetime game last year featured the Oklahoma State-Stanford Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, which drew an 8.4 rating and 13.7 million viewers. Meanwhile, ABC finished with a 6.6 rating and 11.0 million viewers for the Georgia-Nebraska Capital One Bowl. The comparable Michigan State-Georgia Outback Bowl last year on the net drew a 5.1 rating and 8.2 million viewers. ESPN’s South Carolina-Michigan Outback Bowl drew a 4.3 rating and 7.6 million viewers, up from a 2.9 rating and 4.5 million viewers for the South Carolina-Nebraska Capital One Bowl last year (Austin Karp, THE DAILY).

AWKWARD INTERVIEW: USA TODAY's Chris Chase noted immediately following Stanford's defeat of Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl, ESPN sideline reporter Heather Cox "had a deal to interview the winning coach and attempted to do [so] in the hoopla following the game." However, Stanford coach David Shaw was "getting pulled another way -- to the trophy presentation -- leading to an awkward on-air exchange." When Cox "tried to stop Shaw, he politely said he had to go to the trophy presentation." She "ignored him and began an interview anyway." It "lasted one question, before officials pulled Shaw to the presentation, effectively ending the interview." Cox thereafter was heard off camera asking, "Are you kidding me?" Shaw "departed for the trophy ceremony, then returned for another interview with Cox following the presentation" (, 1/2).

A LATER GATOR? In Jacksonville, Garry Smits notes overnight ratings for the Gator Bowl between Northwestern and Mississippi State "fell 24 percent from the 2012 game between Florida and Ohio State, which is prompting Gator Bowl Association president Rick Catlett to consider a new time slot if ESPN continues putting the nation’s sixth-oldest bowl game on ESPN2." Catlett said, "We’ve been on the deuce for three years and I think we need to be one of the top two (ESPN) platforms. There might be the possibility of changing dates to get on ABC or ESPN." Catlett said that he would "be willing to discuss dates on Dec. 30, or even the Saturday after New Year’s Day, if the game is on either ABC or ESPN." Catlett also said that the ESPN platform for the Gator Bowl "might improve if the game moves up in the SEC selection order from seventh." VP/Development Brian Rhodes "indicated that a higher sponsorship fee would be discussed." Catlett said, "Our relationship with TaxSlayer is fantastic. Our sponsor is solid and that might get us a better TV and time slot situation" (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 1/3).

PROMOTIONAL POWER: In Oklahoma City, Berry Tramel wrote Fox during its NFL broadcasts late in the regular season gave Cotton Bowl participants Oklahoma and Texas A&M "all the love." The Cotton Bowl's "move away from Jan. 1 and to a Friday night following New Year's Day gave it a prime-time slot for television and a good calendar spot for traveling fans." And Fox "embraces the game," as ESPN "has the contract of every bowl except the Cotton and the Sun Bowl (CBS)." Fox "spent Sunday promoting" QBs Landry Jones and Johnny Manziel and the "renewal of a rivalry that appeared over" when A&M jumped to the SEC. OU C Gabe Ikard said, "It's like we're playing an NFL playoff game, the attention they're giving to this game" (OKLAHOMAN, 12/2).