Rose Bowl Game Presented by Northwestern Mutual and Allstate Sugar Bowl Deliver Record New Year’s Day

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Rose Bowl Game Presented by Northwestern Mutual and Allstate Sugar Bowl Deliver Record New Year’s Day

  • Rose Bowl Game Earns 9.7 Overnight and Sugar Bowl 7.8, Both Resulting in New Year’s Six Records
  • New Year’s Six Averaged 8.0 Overnight, System’s Best for Non-New Year’s Day Semifinals Years
  • Columbus Delivers Best Local Market Rating for Non-CFP Semifinal Rose Bowl Since 2010

The Rose Bowl Game Presented by Northwestern Mutual featuring Washington vs. Ohio State (5 p.m.) and the Allstate Sugar Bowl between Texas and Georgia (8:45 p.m.) delivered New Year’s Six record ratings, with both bowls achieving their highest non-CFP Semifinal rating in the College Football Playoff five-year history. The significant New Year’s Day ratings, combined with the strong College Football Playoff Semifinals and Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl ratings on December 29, resulted in a new high-water mark for the New Year’s Six among years with similar calendar structure.

Rose Bowl Delivers New Non-CFP Semifinal New Year’s Six Record
The Rose Bowl Game delivered a 9.7 overnight (ESPN and ESPN2) up 3% from the 2017 Rose Bowl Game (1/1/2017) and up 23% from the 2016 edition (1/1/16). The overnight for the Buckeyes’ victory becomes the highest-rated non-Semifinal New Year’s Six game, overtaking the previously mentioned 2017 Rose Bowl.  The Rose Bowl peaked at 10.9 overnight late in the fourth quarter as Washington made a valiant comeback attempt (8:30-8:45 p.m.).

Sugar Bowl Up Significantly from 2017 Game
The Sugar Bowl earned a 7.8 overnight (ESPN and ESPN2), up 28% from the 2017 Sugar Bowl (1/1/2017) and 47% increase from the 2016 game (1/1/16).

Fiesta Bowl Begins New Year’s Day with Window’s Best Overnight
The Playstation Fiesta Bowl featuring LSU vs. UCF (1 p.m.) delivered a 5.0 overnight, up 9% from the 2015 Fiesta Bowl (12/31/2014), the only other time in the New Year’s Six era which the game hosted the automatic qualifier from the Group of Five. The overnight for the Tigers’ victory was also the highest rated among the New Year’s Day early window games this season.

New Year’s Six Delivers Multiple Records
This season’s New Year’s Six delivered an 8.0 overnight average (ESPN and ESPN2), the highest-rated New Year’s Six for years the CFP Semifinals are not played on New Year’s Day. This season’s New Year’s Six non-Semifinal games earned a 7.0 overnight, the best ever in the five years of the system.

Home Markets of Winning Teams Draw Best Local Ratings; Columbus Delivers Best Rating for Non-CFP Semifinal Rose Bowl in Nearly a Decade
The home market for the winning teams in the Rose Bowl Game, Sugar Bowl and Fiesta Bowl were also the highest-rated markets, with Columbus, Ohio, delivering the best of the day at a 42.7. The significant rating for Columbus, Ohio, was the best individual market for the Rose Bowl since 2010, except the two seasons in which the game was a CFP Semifinal. The top 10 local markets for each of the three games:

Rose Bowl Game Presented by Northwestern Mutual

Rank Market Rating
1 Columbus, Ohio 42.7
2 Dayton 30.3
3 Cleveland 29.9
4 Seattle-Tacoma 22.8
5 Birmingham 21.5
6 New Orleans 17.4
7 Cincinnati 16.5
8 Nashville 13.7
9 Austin 13.3
10 Greenville 13.0


Allstate Sugar Bowl

Rank Market Rating
1 Austin 25.4
2 Birmingham 22.1
3 Atlanta 20.6
4 Columbus, OH 18.2
5 New Orleans 18.0
6 Greenville 14.8
7 Nashville 14.4
8 Dayton 13.6
9 Tulsa 13.6
10 Dallas-Ft. Worth 13.4


Playstation Fiesta Bowl

Rank Market Rating
1 New Orleans 25.1
2 Birmingham 21.2
3 Orlando 14.0
4 Greenville 11.1
5 Columbus, Ohio 10.3
6 Tampa-St. Pete 9.5
7 Atlanta 9.4
8 Jacksonville 9.1
9 Austin 8.9
10 Knoxville 8.3


Birmingham Leads Local Markets among All New Year’s Six Games
Birmingham was the highest-rated market for the entire New Year’s Six, delivering a 27.3 average across the six games. The complete Top 10:

Rank Market Rating
1 Birmingham 27.3
2 Columbus, OH 20.6
3 New Orleans 18.4
4 Dayton 15.7
5 Greenville 15.4
6 Tulsa 15.3
7 Oklahoma City 14.2
8 Cleveland 14.1
9 Nashville 13.9
10 Atlanta 13.6

New Year’s Six Consists of Allstate Sugar Bowl, Capital One Orange Bowl, Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic, Playstation Fiesta Bowl and Rose Bowl Game Presented by Northwestern Mutual.


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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