Press Release

Posted by Michael Humes on January 7, 2014

BCS National Championship: Cable’s Third Largest Audience Ever

PRINT VERSIONFILED IN: College Football, Football TAGGED:

  • “BCS Megacast” Garners 26 Million Viewers
  • Five-Game BCS Viewership up 9 Percent
  • BCS & Megacast Logs Best Event Ever on WatchESPN

ESPN’s “BCS Megacast” presentation of the VIZIO BCS National Championship – No. 1 Florida State over No. 2 Auburn 34-31 on Monday, Jan. 6 – garnered 26,061,000 viewers and a 14.8 US HH rating across ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNEWS (television ratings for the additional five platforms offering coverage are not available). The ESPN telecast of the matchup is the third largest audience of any program in cable television history, averaging 25,572,000 viewers and a US HH 14.4 Fast National rating.

In addition to the television audience, WatchESPN generated 773,000 unique viewers and an average minute audience of 252,000 for fans that viewed the BCS Megacast across ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNEWS, ESPN3 and ESPN Goal Line collectively.

WatchESPN saw significant growth in fans that turned to the digital platform to experience the traditional telecast and Megacast. Live access to the game itself on ESPN generated 553,000 unique viewers (a 53 percent increase), 33,600,000 live minutes viewed (90 percent increase) and a 160,000 average minute audience (69 percent increase), over the 2013 BCS National Championship. The BCS Megacast was the best event ever on WatchESPN with 52,000,000 total minutes for a 199 percent increase over fans that watched the traditional production in 2013.

The only two larger audiences in cable television history are ESPN’s coverage of the 2011 and 2013 BCS National Championships: 27,316,000 viewers for Auburn’s 22-19 victory over Oregon in 2011 and 26,380,000 viewers for the Alabama’s 42-14 win over Notre Dame in 2013. 

Five-Game BCS Average
ESPN’s presentation of the five BCS bowl games averaged 16,549,000 viewers and a 9.4 US HH rating, up nine percent (vs. 15,131,000) and 7 percent (vs. 8.8), respectively, over last year’s five BCS games. Across all five BCS bowl games, WatchESPN averaged 329,000 live unique viewers (up 52 percent), 20,300,000 live minutes viewed (up 86 percent) and an average minute audience of 92,000 (up 64%). 

Third Highest-Rated Game in Birmingham
Birmingham led all markets for the telecast with a 55.8 rating, marking the third highest-rated bowl game on ESPN in the market behind the 2011 and 2012 BCS Championships. Jacksonville was the second highest-rated market with a 31.1 rating followed by Knoxville (26.6), Atlanta (25.8), Orlando (24.9), Tampa-St. Petersburg (24.2), Memphis (24.1), Greenville (24.0), Nashville (23.5) and Charlotte (22.2). In addition to being among the top 10 markets, the title matchup was also the highest-rated bowl on ESPN in Jacksonville, Orlando and Tampa-St. Petersburg. All market records date to 2000. 

BCS Megacast & ESPNU Encore Presentation
ESPN’s telecast of the 2014 VIZIO BCS National Championship was the biggest production of a college football game to date with a different viewing option across six of its television platforms as well as audio and digital outlets. The “BCS Megacast” presentation featured multiple ESPN personalities, and guest coaches, players and celebrities for coverage across ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNEWS, ESPN Radio, ESPN3, ESPN Classic, ESPN Deportes, ESPN Goal Line and ESPN International.

ESPNU will offer an encore presentation of the “BCS Film Room” option from ESPNEWS today at 4 p.m. ET and on Thursday, Jan. 9, at 1 p.m. The telecast featured Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin, Pitt coach Paul Chryst and Boston College coach Steve Addazio as well as ESPN analysts Matt Millen, Chris Spielman and Tom Luginbill providing in-depth X and O analysis of the game as it happened from a film room equipped with multiple camera angles and touchscreens.

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