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Volume 26 No. 227
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Audience Analysis: ESPN Sees Drop For Post-New Year's Day Bowls

ESPN aired three bowl games after New Year's Day this season (there were none after Jan. 1 last year), and each game was down compared to its December slot last season. The LendingTree Bowl on Monday was the last of the bowl games before the CFP Championship, and Louisiana's win over Miami (OH) on ESPN averaged 1.45 million viewers. That figure is down 14% from the same game last season (Dollar General Bowl then), which aired on a Saturday night in late December. That Troy-Buffalo game averaged 1.69 million. The Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl also had a late date this year, airing this past Saturday as a lead-in for the AFC Wild Card on ESPN. The Tulane-Southern Miss matchup averaged 1.74 million viewers, down 32% from the same game last year, which saw Army-Houston draw 2.56 million viewers on a late Saturday afternoon in late December. This past Friday afternoon, the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl averaged 1.36 million viewers, down 1% from Western BYU-Michigan last year, which aired in December on a Friday afternoon (1.37 million).

NOTES: Fox drew its most-watched college hoops game ever on Sunday afternoon, with Xavier-St. John's averaging 2.3 million viewers. That audience was aided by a strong lead-in with the Vikings-Saints NFC Wild Card, which went to overtime....The first PGA Tour event of '20 wrapped up on Sunday night, with Golf Channel averaging 634,000 viewers as Justin Thomas beat out Patrick Reed on the third playoff hole at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. That figure is up 25% from the final round last year in Hawaii, which saw Xander Schauffele beat Gary Woodland by one stroke.

The chart below lists viewership for select recent sports telecasts.

TELECAST
DATE
NET
TIME (ET)
RAT.
VIEWERS
(000)
NFC Wild Card: Seahawks-Eagles
1/5
NBC
4:30-7:45pm
19.2
35,118
AFC Wild Card: Titans-Patriots
1/4
CBS
8:25-11:28pm
17.1
31,417
NFC Wild Card: Vikings-Saints
1/5
Fox
1:00-4:30pm
17.4
29,932
AFC Wild Card: Texans-Bills
1/4
ABC/
ESPN
4:30-7:45pm
15.2
26,341
Rose Bowl: Oregon-Wisconsin
1/1
ESPN/
ESPN2
5:06-8:47pm
n/a
16,304
Vrbo Citrus Bowl: Alabama-Michigan
1/1
ABC
1:01-4:30pm
8.0
14,003
Allstate Sugar Bowl: Georgia-Baylor
1/1
ESPN/
ESPN2
8:57pm-12:26am
n/a
10,224
Capital One Orange Bowl: Florida-Virginia
12/30
ESPN
8:10-11:43pm
3.5
6,067
Valero Alamo Bowl: Texas-Utah
12/31
ESPN
7:30-10:40pm
3.1
5,608
TaxSlayer Gator Bowl: Tennessee-Indiana
1/2
ESPN
7:01-10:45pm
2.6
4,317
Outback Bowl: Minnesota-Auburn
1/1
ESPN
12:58-4:22pm
2.4
3,985
AutoZone Liberty Bowl: Navy-Kansas State
12/31
ESPN
3:45-6:57pm
2.1
3,326
Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl:
Arizona State-Florida State
12/31
CBS
2:00-5:15pm
2.1
3,166
Belk Bowl: Kentucky-Virginia Tech
12/31
ESPN
12:00-3:24pm
1.7
2,624
College basketball: St. John's-Xavier
1/5
Fox
4:42-6:45pm
1.4
2,300
Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic: Predators-Stars
1/1
NBC
1:00-4:53pm
1.3
1,974
"Postseason NFL Countdown"
1/4
ESPN
3:00-4:20pm
n/a
1,859
Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl:
Tulane-Southern Miss
1/4
ESPN
11:30am-3:00pm
1.2
1,735
High school football: All-American Bowl
1/4
NBC
1:00-4:00pm
0.8
1,132
College basketball: Michigan-Michigan State
1/5
CBS
1:30-3:45pm
0.7
1,062
College basketball: Indiana-Maryland
1/4
Fox
12:00-2:15pm
0.7
1,005
PGA Tour: Sentry Tournament of Champions:
third round (early)
1/4
NBC
4:00-6:00pm
0.7
975
College basketball: Georgia-Memphis
1/4
CBS
1:00-3:15pm
0.7
929
College basketball: Villanova-Marquette
1/4
Fox
2:15-4:30pm
0.5
726
Monster Energy Supercross (taped)
1/5
NBC
2:30-4:00pm
0.2
300
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Audience Analysis