College Football: First Half of “New Year’s Six” Delivers ESPN Most-Viewed New Year’s Eve Tripleheader on Record

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College Football: First Half of “New Year’s Six” Delivers ESPN Most-Viewed New Year’s Eve Tripleheader on Record

  • Orange Bowl ESPN’s Most-Viewed New Year’s Eve Postseason Game on Record
  • Each New Year’s Six Telecast Sets Record for Respective New Year’s Eve Timeslot

ESPN’s college football tripleheader on Wednesday, Dec. 31 – the first three telecasts of the new College Football Playoff “New Year’s Six” format – delivered the most-viewed and highest-rated New Year’s Eve tripleheader on an ESPN network on record (since 1990). The three postseason bowls – Chick-fil-A Peach, Vizio Fiesta and Capital One Orange – combined to average 7,116,000 viewers and a 4.3 HH US rating, marking increases of 53 percent (vs. 4,648,000) and 54 percent (vs. 2.8), respectively, over the 2013 tripleheader.

In addition, each of the postseason bowls – all of which are part of the College Football Playoff semifinal rotation – delivered the largest audience for a New Year’s Eve game on an ESPN network in the respective timeslot.

“The first New Year’s Eve triple header in the new College Football Playoff era on ESPN generated our largest New Year’s Eve college football audience ever, delivering on our goal of reclaiming the New Year’s holiday for college football fans,” said Burke Magnus, ESPN senior vice president, programming & acquisitions.

ESPN’s Capital One Orange Bowl at 8:30 p.m. ET – No. 12 Georgia Tech beating No. 7 Mississippi State 49-34 – averaged 8,935,000 viewers (based on a 5.0 US rating), making it the most-viewed New Year’s Eve game on ESPN on record. The contest delivered 257,000 live unique viewers, average minute audience of 83,000 and 16,600,000 live minutes viewed on WatchESPN.

  • ESPN’s Vizio Fiesta Bowl at 4 p.m. – a 38-30 No. 20 Boise State victory over No. 10 Arizona – averaged 7,406,000 viewers and a 4.6 US rating. On WatchESPN, the Fiesta Bowl generated 292,000 live unique viewers, an average minute audience of 75,000 and 17,400,000 live minutes viewed.
  • ESPN’s Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl at 12:30 p.m. – No. 6 TCU defeating No. 9 Ole Miss 41-3 in a contest that featured a 28-0 halftime lead – averaged 5,013,000 viewers and a 3.4 US rating. The bowl posted 317,000 live unique viewers, an average minute audience of 87,000 and 17,800,000 live minutes viewed.

Metered Markets
Birmingham was the top market for all three telecasts, averaging a 23.0 rating for the Capital One Orange Bowl, a 16.3 for the Vizio Fiesta Bowl and a 14.5 for the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl. Rounding out the top five markets for each bowl:

  • Capital One Orange Bowl: Atlanta (14.4), Memphis (13.7), Greenville (11.3) and Knoxville (10.3)
  • Vizio Fiesta Bowl: Phoenix (10.2), Memphis (9.9), Columbus (8.4) and Atlanta (8.3)
  • Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl: Memphis (11.3), Austin (8.9), Atlanta (7.7) and Oklahoma City (7.0)


Derek Volner

I currently lead ESPN’s NFL Communications, including Monday Night Football, NFL Draft and studio programming. Previously, I did the same for ESPN’s vast college football portfolio. I have been with ESPN since 2013.
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