New Year’s Six: Capital One Orange Bowl and PlayStation Fiesta Bowl Both Post Strong Ratings

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New Year’s Six: Capital One Orange Bowl and PlayStation Fiesta Bowl Both Post Strong Ratings

  • Orange Bowl up 38% from Inaugural New Year’s Six, Flat with Last Season’s Epic Orange Bowl
  • Fiesta Bowl up 28% from Inaugural New Year’s Six, Keeps Pace with New Year’s Day Fiesta Bowl in Year Two
  • New Year’s Six Off to Robust Start: Up 42% from System’s Similar First Year 

ESPN’s New Year’s Six telecasts continued their strong start on Saturday, Dec. 30, as the ratings for the Capital One Orange Bowl (8 p.m.) and the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl (4 p.m.) followed the trend set on Friday, Dec. 29, with the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic (8:30 p.m.), seeing significant ratings increases from the inaugural Year of the New Year’s Six, which also concluded with the Rose Bowl Game Presented by Northwestern Mutual and Allstate Sugar Bowl hosting the College Football Playoff Semifinals.

Orange Bowl Continues to Deliver Thrilling Games, High Ratings
The Orange Bowl featuring Wisconsin vs. Miami earned a 6.6 overnight, up 38% from the inaugural New Year’s Six Orange Bowl (2014) and was nearly flat with last season’s Orange Bowl, which featured a down-to-the-wire Florida State victory over Michigan (6.7 overnight). As a result of the back-to-back years of impressive ratings, the 2017 and 2016 Orange Bowls represent the third and fourth highest-rated non-CFP Semifinals of the New Year’s Six era, trailing only the two New Year’s Day Rose Bowls (15 games). For the 2015 season, the Orange Bowl was a CFP Semifinal.

Milwaukee Earns No. 1 Local Market
Milwaukee was the No. 1 local market, earning a 20.6 rating. The complete Top 10:

Rank Overnight Market
1 20.6 Milwaukee
2 19.0 Columbus
3 14.9 Birmingham
4 13.2 Greenville
5 11.8 Jacksonville
6 11.6 New Orleans
7 11.3 Atlanta
8 10.8 Miami
9 10.6 Oklahoma City
10.6 Tulsa

The PlayStation Fiesta Bowl featuring Washington vs. Penn State (4 p.m.) earned an 5.9 overnight, up 28% also from inaugural New Year’s Six Fiesta Bowl (2014), which was also played at 4 p.m. on a non-CFP Semifinal day (Dec. 31, 2014).  This year’s Fiesta Bowl rating was less than 5% off of the 2015 season’s New Year’s Day Fiesta Bowl featuring Ohio State and Notre Dame (6.2 overnight).  For the 2016 Season, the Fiesta Bowl was a CFP Semifinal.

Columbus Becomes No. 1 Local Market for Second New Year’s Six Game
Columbus was the No. 1 local market for the second consecutive New Year’s Six game, after achieving the same status for the Cotton Bowl. The complete top 10 markets:

Rank Overnight Market
1 16.4 Columbus
2 15.4 Seattle
3 11.4 Birmingham
4 11.0 Dayton
5 10.9 Pittsburgh
6 9.7 Philadelphia
7 9.5 Greenville
8 9.3 New Orleans
9.3 Jacksonville
9.3 Cleveland

New Year’s Six Off to Strong Start, up 42% from Inaugural Year of the System
Combined with the Cotton Bowl Classic, through the first three games of this season’s New Year’s Six, ESPN is averaging an 6.1 rating, up 42% from the inaugural year of the New Year’s Six. The inaugural year is the only other year of the system in which the CFP Semifinals were not played within those first three games.

Columbus Sets the Pace among Local Markets for New Year’s Six Games
Through three games, and on the backbone of being the No.1 local market for two of the three games, Columbus is the No. 1 local market for the New Year’s Six. The complete top 10:

Rank Overnight Market
1 26.0 Columbus
2 14.9 Dayton
3 12.9 Birmingham
12.9 Cleveland
5 10.2 Greenville
6 9.5 Milwaukee
7 9.4 New Orleans
9.4 Cincinnati
9 9.3 Seattle
10 9.2 Oklahoma City


Please note: Nielsen reported numbers for all ESPN telecasts reflect TV viewing + Streaming audiences on OTT devices (such as Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, gaming consoles and smart TVs). This new system has been used since Sept. 26.



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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