OSU-Alabama Averages 28.3M Viewers; 28.2M for Oregon-FSU
The inaugural College Football Playoff system exploded on the Nielsen scene New Year’s Day, with the first semifinal becoming the largest telecast in cable history, before being supplanted by the second contest.
ESPN registered a 14.8 rating translating into 28.16 million viewers with its coverage of Oregon’s 59-20 romp of defending champion Florida State in the Rose Bowl, according to Nielsen data.
The Ducks’ demolition that ended the Seminoles’ 29-game winning streak overtook the BCS title game won by Auburn over Oregon on Jan. 10, 2011. The 27.3 million watchers for that contest had stood as the largest audience in cable TV history until now.
Oregon-FSU’s reign was much shorter-lived. The worldwide leader garnered a 15.2 rating and 28.27 million viewers for the second game of the doubleheader, as Ohio State upset top-ranked Alabama, 42-35.
Both games generated significant increases over the ESPN bowl games in their respective Jan. 1, 2014 time slots: a 51% audience ascent from 18.6 million for last year’s Rose Bowl and a 150% surge from 11.3 million for the 2014 Sugar Bowl. The ratings rose 45% from a 10.2 and 130% from a 6.6, respectively.
The New Year’s Six – the six bowl games, three on New Year’s Eve and three on New Year’s Day, that are part of the new College Football Playoff – posted an increase of 78% in viewership compared to the same six time slots last year. The six contests averaged 14.7 million viewers, up from 8.27 million.
In addition to the two semifinals, ESPN's presentation of the New Year’s Day’s Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic -- Michigan State's 42-41 win over Baylor in the waning seconds -- at 12:30 p.m. increased viewership for the time slot 67% to 9.09 million from 5.44 million. The rating rose 63% to 5.2 from 3.2.
Source: Multichannel News, Jan. 2015
Tango Media Management