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Rose Bowl Rating Up Nearly 20%; Streaming Surpassed One Million Unique Viewers

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  • Rose Bowl is Best Overnight and Most-Streamed Non-Semifinal New Year’s Six Game Ever; Philadelphia Sets Local Market Record
  • Sugar Bowl Overnight Up 15%, Streaming Up Nearly 80%
  • New Year’s Six Averages a 7.8 Overnight, Up Double Digits; Streaming Added Nearly 300,000 Viewers, Up 66% and Easily Most-Streamed New Year’s Six Ever

The Rose Bowl Game Presented by Northwestern Mutual between USC and Penn State (January 2 at 5 p.m. ET) generated an overnight rating of 9.4 on ESPN and streaming added an additional average minute audience of 300,000 viewers with 1,103,000 unique viewers watching a total of 75,989,000 minutes, making it by far the best overnight and most-streamed non-semifinal New Year’s Six game ever (12 games in three years).

Rose Bowl Generates Significant Growth in All Metrics From Last Year  
The overnight for the instant-classic was up 19% from last year’s Rose Bowl Game (Stanford vs. Iowa) which was played on its traditional January 1 date (5 p.m. on ESPN), while the streaming audience was up 68%, 64%, and 102%, respectively, in average minute audience, unique viewers and total minutes watched.

Additional Rose Bowl Highlights:

  • Last Two Minutes of Game Action Peaks Audience: The game peaked at a 12.4 overnight during the final two minutes of the fourth quarter, which included USC’s game-winning field goal (9:15 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.).
  • Philadelphia Sets Local Record: The City of Brotherly Love earned a 16.7 rating, the highest ever for a bowl game on ESPN (including championship games).
  • Los Angeles and Pittsburgh Draw Big Overnights: L.A. earned a 14.9 overnight and Pittsburgh a 17.0 overnight, the second-highest local market rating for a bowl game on ESPN for both cities (including championship games).
  • Top 10 Markets: Birmingham was the No. 1 rated market overall. The complete Top 10:
Rank Rating Market
1 19.2 Birmingham
2 17.0 Pittsburgh
3 16.7 Philadelphia
4 15.1 Columbus
5 14.9 Los Angeles
6 13.7 Tulsa
7 13.1 San Diego
8 12.8 Greenville
9 11.8 Portland
10 11.7 Fort Myers


Sugar Bowl Concludes New Year’s Six With Overnight Increase, Large Streaming Growth
The Allstate Sugar Bowl between Auburn and Oklahoma (8:30 p.m. on ESPN*) generated an overnight rating of 6.1 and streaming added an additional average minute audience of 198,000 viewers with 732,000 unique viewers watching a total of 43,733,000 minutes. The overnight for the Sooners’ victory was up 15% from last year’s Sugar Bowl (Oklahoma State vs. Ole Miss) which was played on January 1 (8:30 p.m. on ESPN) while the streaming audience was up 78%, 56%, and 89%, respectively, in average minute audience, unique viewers and total minutes watched.

Birmingham was the No. 1 local market, followed by Oklahoma City and Tulsa. Complete top 10:

Rank Rating Market
1 31.2 Birmingham
2 29.7 Oklahoma City
3 26.3 Tulsa
4 13.4 New Orleans
5 10.1 Austin
6 9.7 Nashville
7 9.5 Kansas City
8 9.3 Knoxville
9 9.1 Greenville
9.1 Columbus

The Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic between Western Michigan and Wisconsin (1 p.m. on ESPN) averaged a 3.2 overnight and streaming added an additional average minute audience of 133,000 viewers with 434,000 unique viewers watching a total of 24,572,000 minutes. The streaming average minute audience was up 55% compared to the 2014 Cotton Bowl**.  The top 10 Cotton Bowl markets:

Rank Rating Market
1 18.0 Milwaukee
2 9.1 Detroit
3 6.4 Columbus
4 6.3 Birmingham
5 5.7 Minneapolis
6 5.1 Kansas City
7 4.9 Dayton
8 4.8 Tulsa
Atlanta
10 4.5 Richmond


New Year’s Six Up Double Digits; Easily Most-Streamed New Year’s Six Ever
ESPN’s presentation of the New Year’s Six*** generated an average overnight rating of 7.8 across the six games and streaming added an additional average minute audience of 293,000 viewers with 926,000 unique viewers watching a total of 63,487,000 minutes. The six game overnight average is up 10% from last season’s presentation of the same six games – including the College Football Playoff Semifinals being up double digits as previously documented —  and the streaming audience was up 66%, 30%, and 62%, respectively, in average minute audience, unique viewers and total minutes watched.  This year’s streaming audience is also up 194%, 104%, and 183% from the first year of the New Year’s Six (December 3, 2014 – January 1, 2015).  The TV overnights were down less than 5% from the record-setting inaugural year (8.2 overnight).

***New Year’s Six consists of Capital One Orange Bowl, Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, PlayStation Fiesta Bowl, Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic, Rose Bowl Game Presented by Northwestern Mutual and Allstate Sugar Bowl. Each year, two of the games are College Football Playoff Semifinals.

Additional New Year’s Six Highlights:

  • Two of Top Three: ESPN aired two of the three highest-rated non-Semifinal New Year’s Six games this year – Rose Bowl and Capital One Orange Bowl (6.7 overnight).
  • Streaming Audience Continues to Grow: Led by the College Football Playoff Semifinals, this year’s New Year’s Six games account for three of the four most-streamed non-championship games ever for ESPN based on average minute audience. As previously mentioned, this was also easily the most-streamed New Year’s Six ever.
  • Top 10 markets: Birmingham, which was the No. 1 market in four of the New Year’s Six games, led the way as the No. 1 local market for the complete New Year’s Six. Complete top 10
Rank Rating Market
1 23.4 Birmingham
2 17.2 Columbus
3 13.7 Greenville
4 13.4 Knoxville
5 13.0 Tulsa
6 12.7 Dayton
7 12.1 Oklahoma City
8 12.0 Atlanta
9 11.8 Nashville
10 11.5 Cleveland

ESPN only

*Sugar Bowl began on ESPN2 and was joined in progress at the end of the Rose Bowl (approx. 9:30 p.m. ET); ESPN2 was not factored into the overnight

**2015 Cotton Bowl was a College Football Playoff Semifinal; 2014 Cotton Bowl was part of the New Year’s Six

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Media contact: Derek Volner at 860-384-9986; [email protected] and @DerekVolner