Press Release

Posted by Dave Nagle on January 8, 2013

BCS National Championship: Cable’s Second Biggest Audience of All Time

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ESPN Wins the Night, Five-Game BCS Viewership up 7 Percent

Big College Football Audience for ESPN’s Digital Platforms

ESPN’s telecast of the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) National Championship – No. 2 Alabama’s 42-14 victory over No. 1 and previously unbeaten Notre Dame – attracted the second largest audience of any program in cable television history, an average of 17,216,000 households (17.5 Fast National household coverage rating), according to Nielsen. The average of 26,380,000 viewers (P2+) and the US household rating (15.1) were also second best in cable history and the 17.5 coverage rating is ESPN’s second-highest of all time.

The only larger audience and US rating in cable television history was the 2011 BCS Championship on ESPN (17,718,000 homes and 27,316,000 people, based on an ESPN record 17.8 coverage rating, a 15.3 US rating), a 22-19 Auburn victory over Oregon decided by a field goal as time expired.

The rating for the 8:30 p.m. ET telecast peaked at a 20.9 (household coverage rating) between 9 – 9:30 p.m.  The first half (8:30 – 10 p.m.) earned a 20.4, compared to a 17.9 for the record-holding 2011 championship game.

The game earned notable local ratings in a variety of markets:

  • Birmingham averaged a 55.1 rating, best of all metered markets, making it the third-highest-rated bowl game on the ESPN networks in this market (behind only the previous two BCS title games – 67.0 in 2011 and 61.2 last year)
  • 17 markets delivered their highest-rated bowl game ever on the ESPN networks, including Chicago with an 18.5.
  • Records date back to 2000

The 17.5 rating was 8 percent higher than last year (16.2) while the average of 17,216,000 households was up 7 percent (from 16,072,000) and the average viewership (26,380,000, P2+) was up 9 percent (from 24,214,000).

Five-Game BCS Average

ESPN’s presentation of the five BCS bowl games averaged 15,131,000 viewers, up 7 percent from last year (14,080,000).  The games averaged a 10.1 rating (8.8 US rating) and 9,999,000 homes, up 4 and 3 percent, respectively (9.8 coverage / 8.4 US; 9,678,000).

ESPN Digital Media

The number of fans engaged through ESPN apps on Monday increased dramatically over 2012.

  • The college football card on ESPN’s redesigned ScoreCenter app had an average minute audience of more than 2,000, up more than four times (+303 percent) over last year.
  • The ESPN College Football app had an average minute audience of more than 4,000, up nearly triple (+192 percent) over ESPN’s Bowl Bound app in 2012.
  • Football content on ESPN.com saw an average minute audience on Monday of nearly 22,000, an increase of 70 percent over 2012.
  • On ESPN Mobile Web, the average minute audience for the college football section was up 47 percent over a year ago.

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