Most-Viewed Orange Bowl Since 2008; Four-Game BCS Average Up 15 Percent Over 2013
Based on Nielsen's Fast National ratings, ESPN's coverage of the Discover Orange Bowl on January 3 averaged 11,400,000 viewers and a 6.7 US HH rating. The game - No. 12 Clemson over No. 7 Ohio State 40-35 - is the most-viewed Discover Orange Bowl since 2008. The 2014 telecast posted increases of 8 percent (vs. 10,562,000 viewers) and 10 percent (6.1 US HH rating) over ESPN's 2013 Orange Bowl.
ESPN's four Bowl Championship Series telecasts of 2014 - the Rose Bowl Game Presented by VIZIO, Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, Allstate Sugar Bowl and Discover Orange Bowl - combined averaged 14,344,000 viewers and an 8.2 US HH rating. The four-game average marks an increase of 15 percent (vs. 12,478,000) and 12 percent (vs. 7.3) over the same four BCS bowls in 2014.
Fans also turned to WatchESPN to follow the matchup, spending 16.9 million minutes on the game (up 165 percent). The bowl also garnered an average minute audience of 72,000, a 131 percent increase over last season. Combined, the four games averaged 17.0 million live minutes viewed (up 84 percent) and an average minute audience of 75,000 (up 61 percent).
Columbus led all markets for the telecast with a 41.1 rating, marking the highest rating for a bowl game on ESPN in the market since at least 2000. The telecast was also the highest-rated bowl game on ESPN in the second through fourth top markets: Dayton (28.2 rating), Greenville (26.3) and Cleveland (21.3). The top 10 markets are rounded out by Charlotte (14.7), Birmingham (13.1), Atlanta (12.8), Cincinnati (12.2), Jacksonville (12.1) and Fort Myers (11.2).
ESPN & the BCS
ESPN's fourth year of exclusive coverage of the five BCS matchups will conclude tonight at 8:30 p.m. ET with a BCS Megacast presentation of the VIZIO BCS National Championship (No. 1 Florida State vs. No. 2 Auburn).