A strong start for college bowl games
ABC's first two games up more than 5 percent
January 4, 2006
After several years of decline, ratings for the season-ending Bowl Championship Series are finally on their way back up.
ABC’s three nights of BCS coverage got a strong kickoff Monday, with ratings for the Sugar and Fiesta Bowls both up more than 5 percent among households compared with the same bowl timeslots last year.
That’s according to Nielsen overnights, which measure time period data. Final numbers including only program data will be out later today, but it seems ABC is on pace for a nice bump over 2005 if tonight’s Rose Bowl continues the trend.
Monday’s Sugar Bowl game between West Virginia and Georgia, which began as a Mountaineers blowout but ended in exciting fashion, averaged a 9.3 household rating, up 9 percent over the same 8:30 to 11 p.m. timeslot last year.
Last year’s Fiesta Bowl game in the same slot averaged an 8.5 for Utah’s win over Pittsburgh.
Earlier in the day, the first BCS game, the Fiesta Bowl between Ohio State and Notre Dame, averaged a strong 13.6 household rating from 5 to 8:30 p.m. That was up 5 percent over last year’s Texas-Michigan Rose Bowl matchup.
This year’s BCS pairings have been relatively controversy free, which always helps pump ratings. During the 2004 and 2003 seasons, the BCS was dogged by questions over who should play in the year’s final games.
Because of that controversy, ratings for the BCS finale and many of the other bowls were down. In fact, the final game had its lowest rating ever. But with this year’s strong start, it looks as though that trend will finally reverse.
Meanwhile, in nightly ratings, ABC’s college football coverage led the network to a first-place finish on Monday night with a 5.8 average overnight rating among adults 18-49 and a 13 share. CBS was second at 4.0/9, NBC third at 3.7/9, Fox fourth at 2.4/6, Univision fifth at 1.9/4, and the WB and UPN tied for sixth at 1.3/3.
At 8 p.m. ABC led with a 7.4 average for the end of the Fiesta Bowl and the beginning of the Sugar Bowl. CBS was second that hour with a 3.4 average for repeats of The King of Queens (3.3) and How I Met Your Mother (3.5) and NBC third with a 2.7 for Surface. Univision was fifth that hour with a 1.5 for Contra Viento y Marea.
ABC led again during the 9 p.m. hour with a 5.6 average for the Sugar Bowl. CBS remained in second with a 4.2 average for repeats of Two and a Half Men (4.7) and Out of Practice (3.8) and NBC third with a 4.0 for Las Vegas. Univision was fifth again, this time with a 2.0 for Alborada.
CBS took the lead during the 10 p.m. hour, averaging a 4.5 rating for a repeat of CSI: Miami. ABC and NBC tied for second that hour at 4.3, ABC for its Sugar Bowl coverage and NBC for Medium. Univision was fourth with a 1.7 average for Cristina.
Among households, ABC led the night with a 10.6 average rating and a 16 share. CBS finished second at 7.8/12, NBC third at 6.8/10, Fox fourth at 3.6/5, the WB and Univision tied for fifth at 2.2/3 and UPN seventh at 1.9/3.
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