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BCS TV Ratings Up: Attendance Down

The five BCS Bowls averaged about a ratings point higher than 2008, despite the fact the the Orange Bowl turned in the lowest TV ratings in BCS history. The other four BCS bowl games all saw increases, with the Texas win over Ohio State making the biggest jump with a 35% increase.

Meanwhile game attendance was down in 3 of the 5 BCS contests. Here is a breakdown of the BCS Championship Series. A quick note: the ratings number relects the percentage of the total number of TV households in the U.S. that are tuned into the game. The share number reflects the percentage of TV households that are actually in use that are tuned into the game.

Florida's win over OU drew 3.7 million more viewers than LSU's demolition of Ohio State in 2008.

The BCS Championship Game: (Florida 24 - OU 14)
Household Rating/Share # of Viewers
15.8/25 26.7 million
*This game is the 5th most viewed championship contest since the inception of the BCS in 1998. Aside from the overall numbers, the advertisers are really after the coveted 18-49 age group, and this game pulled a 9.5 rating/25 share, which was about 15% higher than the year before.

78,468 were in Miami for the game, which was a little over 1,000 fewer than last year's contest in New Orleans.

Despite the annual USC blowout over a Big 10 opponent/victim, the Rose Bowl continues to draw the best numbers of any bowl outside the championship game.

The Rose Bowl: (USC 38 Penn State 24)
Household Rating/Share # of Viewers
11.7/21 20.6 million
*In the important 18-49 category, the Rose Bowl drew solid numbers with a 6.5 rating/20 share, which was up slightly from the 2007 USC blowout over Illinois. The overall number of 20.6 million viewers was up almost 2 million from the 2008 game.

The Rose Bowl pulls in just over 93,000 fans each and every year.

Texas dramatic last-second win over Ohio State helped the Fiesta Bowl secure the largest jump in TV ratings among the BCS Bowls.

The Fiesta Bowl: (Texas 24 - Ohio State 21)
Household Rating/Share # of Viewers
10.4/17 17.1 million
*The clash between the two traditional powers was a terrific boost for the Fiesta Bowl which saw a dramatic 35% increase over last year's ratings for the West Virginia defeat of Oklahoma. The contest pulled a 6 rating/16 share in the 18-49 age demo. In terms of total viewers, the 17.1 million was almost five million more than tuned in to the 2008 Fiesta Bowl.
There were grumblings that Ohio State had a much more difficult time getting rid of their share of the Fiesta Bowl tickets, but overall attendance was 72,047, almost exactly 2,000 higher than the 2008 game between West Virginia and OU.

Utah's win over 'Bama was a mixed blessing for Fox in terms of TV Ratings

The Sugar Bowl: (Utah 31 - Alabama 17)
Household Rating/Share # of Viewers
7.8/13 13.4 million
* In terms of sheer numbers, this game outdrew the Georgia-Hawaii contest of 2008 by over 1.5 million viewers. However, the 18-49 age demo was actually down slightly from that game -- with a 4.3 rating/12 share.
This year's Sugar Bowl had 71,872 fans in attendance, which was down 2,500 from the year before.

This year's Orange Bowl was a disaster from both an attendance and TV ratings standpoint.

The Orange Bowl: (Virginia Tech 20 - Cincinnati 7)
Household Rating/Share # of Viewers
5.4/9 9.3 million
* This is the bottom of the BCS barrel. It is the lowest-rated BCS Bowl game ever. It's 18-49 demo number was a 3.0 rating/8 share. And those numbers are almost a third lower than the 2008 game between Virginia Tech and Kansas pulled. Total households was also down over 2.6 million viewers.
This game drew only 57,851 fans, which was 22% lower than last year's attendance of 74,111.

Some Perspective on These Numbers
*In case you are still wondering why the Rose Bowl carries so much clout, remember this: The Rose Bowl is consistently the highest-rated bowl game outside the championship contest, even though it is the only BCS game that is not played in prime time.

* The overall BCS numbers were up this year, but that means it is the second-lowest rated total for BCS games since the inception.

* 2006 set the bar for the individual ratings on the championship game, and overall. The 2006 Rose Bowl is the gold standard for the BCS. The Texas win over USC pulled a 21.7 rating and over 35.6 million viewers. The four BCS games that year pulled an average rating of just over 14. That means that the BCS ratings are down 27% from their peak that year.

* For the advertisers, it is still a very good buy. As bad as the Orange Bowl numbers were, it still finished in the top 20 for the week and in the Top 10 in the target age demo of 18-49.