The Allstate Sugar Bowl earned an 8.4 overnight rating on ESPN, according to Nielsen, the second-highest overnight rating for college football in ESPN history. The game, a 31-26 Ohio State win over Arkansas, trails only last week’s Rose Bowl Game (11.7), and all four BCS telecasts this month are among ESPN’s top six college football overnights ever.
The 8.4 overnight rating – which only represents television viewership – is 17% higher than last year’s Orange Bowl (Iowa – Georgia Tech, 7.2), played on the equivalent Tuesday night, and three percent lower than last year’s Sugar Bowl (8.7, Florida-Cincinnati, played on New Year’s night).
On ESPN3.com, the game was watched by more than 248,000 unique viewers for a total of close to 15.8 million minutes consumed, making it the most unique viewers ever for a college football game on ESPN3.com. Thus far, three of the top five college football games based on most unique viewers came from this year’s BCS bowl games (Sugar Bowl, Rose Bowl and Orange Bowl).
Across ESPN’s digital platforms (ESPN.com, ESPN Mobile Web & ScoreCenter App, and ESPN3.com), January 4 saw 106.7 million total minutes of usage to college football content across, an average of 74,000 users per minute. Highlights for the day include ESPN.com’s 14.9 million visits, 34.8 million page views and 69.5 million total minutes, increases of 29 percent, 35 percent and 39 percent, respectively from the same Tuesday in 2010. Additionally, college football content on the ESPN Mobile Web generated 6.1 million visits (up 71 percent), 12.2 million page views (up 54 percent) and 19.8 million total minutes (up 148%).
Season to date, bowl games on ESPN3.com have delivered close to 124 million minutes consumed, up 183 percent vs. last year.
Tuesday’s game drew large television audiences in particular markets, led by Columbus (46.2), Dayton (27.6), Birmingham (25.7), Cleveland (25.1), New Orleans (25.0) and Memphis (16.3). There is no metered market in Arkansas. The rating in Columbus is the highest for college football ever on ESPN or ESPN2 in that market (records begin in 2000) and is the highest for any market during the current bowl season..
ESPN & the BCS
ESPN’s first year of exclusive coverage of the five BCS matchups will climax with Auburn and Oregon meeting in the Tostitos BCS National Championship Game from Glendale, Ariz., on 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 contests (Tostitos Fiesta Bowl and Tostitos BCS National Championship Game).
In addition, ESPN is providing extensive on-site studio programming and reports 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.