Rose Bowl Game Averages More Than 16 Million Viewers; Up 17% from 2016 Game

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Rose Bowl Game Averages More Than 16 Million Viewers; Up 17% from 2016 Game

  • Rose Bowl is Most-Watched Non-Semifinal New Year’s Six Game; Sugar Bowl Audience Increases
  • New Year’s Six Averages Nearly 14 Million Viewers; Up 16%

The Rose Bowl Game Presented by Northwestern Mutual between USC and Penn State (January 2 at 5 p.m. ET) delivered a total live audience of 16,040,000 viewers, the most-watched non-semifinal New Year’s Six game ever. The last-minute USC victory saw a viewership increase of 17% from last year’s Rose Bowl Game (Stanford vs. Iowa) which was played on its traditional January 1 date (5 p.m. on ESPN).

The Rose Bowl peaked at 19,656,000 viewers in the final minutes of the fourth quarter, which included USC’s game-winning field goal (9 p.m. – 9:29 p.m.). Locally, Philadelphia (16.7) set a new market record for the game, while in Pittsburgh (17.0) and Los Angeles (14.9) it was the second highest-rated bowl game ever on ESPN. The complete top 10 markets, as well as specific streaming data was released this morning.

The Allstate Sugar Bowl between Auburn and Oklahoma (8:30 p.m. on ESPN*) generated a total live audience of 9,713,000 viewers, up 7% from last year’s Sugar Bowl (Oklahoma State vs. Ole Miss) which was played on January 1 (8:30 p.m. on ESPN). Birmingham (31.2 rating) was the No. 1 local market, with Oklahoma City (29.7) and Tulsa (26.3) rounding out the top 3. Full details were announced this morning.

The Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic between Western Michigan and Wisconsin (1 p.m. on ESPN) delivered a total live audience of 5,575,000 viewers, which includes an increase of 55% in the streaming audience from the 2014 Cotton Bowl**.

January 2nd Out Paces January 1
The New Year’s Six final three games, all played on the non-traditional January 2, averaged a total live audience of 11,116,000 viewers, up from last year’s final three New Year’s Six games which were played on January 1. Both the Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl were part of both days, while last year the Fiesta Bowl was played on January 1.

New Year’s Six Up 16%; College Football Playoff Semifinals Up Double Digits
ESPN’s presentation of the New Year’s Six*** generated an average total live audience of 13,955,000 viewers per game, up 16% from  last season’s presentation of the same six games – including the College Football Playoff Semifinals being up double digits and the Orange Bowl up 30%****. This year’s average audience of nearly 14 million viewers was down just 6% a game from the record-setting inaugural year (December 31, 2014 – January 1, 2015).

*Sugar Bowl began on ESPN2 and was joined in progress at the end of the Rose Bowl (approx. 9:30 p.m. ET); ESPN2 was not factored into the viewership

**2015 Cotton Bowl was a College Football Playoff Semifinal; 2014 Cotton Bowl was part of the New Year’s Six

**New Year’s Six consists of Capital One Orange Bowl, Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, PlayStation Fiesta Bowl, Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic, Rose Bowl Game Presented by Northwestern Mutual and Allstate Sugar Bowl. Each year, two of the games are College Football Playoff Semifinals.

***Orange Bowl was compared to 2014 Orange Bowl


Media contact: Derek Volner at 860-384-9986; [email protected] and @DerekVolner

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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