BCS: Sugar Bowl Only Slightly Sour in the Overnights


Like the other three BCS bowls on ESPN, Tuesday’s Sugar Bowl had a decline in overnight ratings — but the game still held up well compared to last year.

Ohio State’s close victory over Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl earned an 8.4 overnight rating on ESPN Tuesday night, down 3% from last year (UF/CIN: 8.7, FOX), and down a tick from 2009 (UTAH/ALA: 8.5, FOX).

Tuesday’s game drew the second-lowest overnight for the Sugar Bowl in nine years.

That said, the 8.4 overnight is the second-highest ever for a college football telecast on ESPN, trailing only the 2011 Rose Bowl (11.7). This year’s Bowl Championship Series accounts for four of the six best college football overnights ever on ESPN.

Though strong for ESPN, the first four BCS games were each down from the comparable matchup last year — and this year’s Fiesta and Orange Bowls drew two of the three lowest BCS overnights ever.

Ohio State/Arkansas drew strong numbers in several Ohio markets, earning a 25.1 in Cleveland, a 27.6 in Dayton, and a whopping 46.2 in Columbus. The 46.2 is the highest for a college football game on ESPN or ESPN2 in the Columbus market since those networks began keeping records in 2000.

According to ESPN, there is no metered television market in the state of Arkansas.

Birmingham, AL, was the top neutral market for the game, with a (25.7). New Orleans (25.0) and Memphis (16.3) ranked second and third among neutral markets.

ESPN says last year’s Sugar Bowl on FOX drew an 8.7 overnight. Previous reports had that game drawing a 9.2 overnight.