ESPN kicked off 2011 with the first two BCS bowl games capping a memorable day of programming that generated record metered market overnight television ratings and strong digital traffic. According to Nielsen, The Rose Bowl Game Presented by VIZIO, in which TCU defeated Wisconsin 21-19, delivered an 11.7, the highest overnight rating (excluding NFL) for ESPN and for all of cable television on record. Note: ESPN’s overnight ratings records for the cable industry date back to 2001.
Also, ESPN’s coverage of the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl (Oklahoma’s 48-20 victory over Connecticut) won the night among all programs (broadcast or cable), generating a 6.7 rating. The Rose Bowl Game (#1) and Fiesta Bowl (#4) are now two of ESPN’s top four college football overnight ratings on record.
In terms of digital numbers, January 1 saw 134.7 million total minutes of usage to college football content across ESPN.com, ESPN Mobile Web & ScoreCenter App, and ESPN3.com (according to Omniture). That translates to 94,000 users per minute consuming college football content across ESPN’s major digital properties. Highlights include ESPN.com’s five million visits, 35 million page views and 59.2 million total minutes on Jan.1, increases of 17%, 24% and 31%, respectively from January 1, 2010. Additionally, ESPN Mobile Web generated 8.8 million visits (up 49%), 18.5 million page views (up 41%) and 35.3 million total minutes (up 42%).Lastly, ESPN3.com saw 418,000 unique viewers and 34.6 million total minutes spent with college football games on January 1, highlighted by 214,000 unique viewers (and a college football live game season-high 13.9 million total minutes of viewing) for the Rose Bowl Game.
ESPN’s first year of exclusive coverage of the five BCS matchups will continue with the Discover Orange Bowl (Monday, Jan. 3), Allstate Sugar Bowl (Tuesday, Jan. 4) and Tostitos BCS National Championship Game (Monday, Jan. 10). Overall, ESPN, ESPN Radio and ESPN3.com will present all five BCS Bowl games and ESPN 3D is providing exclusive 3D coverage of two BCS games (Tostitos Fiesta Bowl and Tostitos BCS National Championship Game).
In addition, ESPN is providing extensive on-site studio reports and analysis across multiple shows and platforms, dedicated web pages for each bowl, re-airs of classic BCS games, international telecasts of all five games, encore presentations of the National Championship and more.
ESPN’s year-round commitment to college football includes more than 400 games, culminating with 33 bowls, and approximately 200 million people tuned in to college football 2010 regular-season coverage on ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC.