BCS: No Record Low, But Alabama/LSU Lowest Rated Title Game Since ’05

Posted by | January 10, 2012 at 5:38 PM

The BCS National Championship Game avoided a record-low rating, but the numbers were still the worst in seven years.

The 2012 BCS National Championship Game, a 21-0 victory for #2 Alabama over #1 LSU, earned a 14.0 U.S. rating and 24.214 million viewers on ESPN Monday night, down 9% in ratings and 11% in viewership from last year (AUB/ORE: 15.3, 27.316M), and down 19% and 21%, respectively, from 2009 (ALA/TEX: 17.2, 30.776M, ABC).

The game ranks as the second-most viewed program in cable television history, behind only Auburn/Oregon last year. Three of the five most-viewed programs in cable history have been Bowl Championship Series telecasts on ESPN.

Though strong for cable, Monday’s game ranks as the lowest rated BCS National Championship Game since 2005 (USC/OKLA: 13.7, ABC) and the least-viewed since 2008 (LSU/OSU: 23.069M, FOX).

Overall, Alabama/LSU ranks as the third-lowest rated and fifth-least viewed BCS National Championship Game ever (14 telecasts). Considering the record low overnight, however, one imagines ESPN will be satisfied.

Excluding the NFL, Monday’s game ranks as the highest rated and most-viewed sporting event since Game 7 of the World Series last October (TEX/STL: 14.7, 25.403M).

Locally, Alabama’s win earned a 61.2 rating in Birmingham, down 9% from last year’s Auburn/Oregon game in the market (67.0), and down 9% from Alabama/Texas in 2010 (67.4).

In New Orleans, the game earned a 53.3 rating — not too far off the 56.3 the Saints/Colts Super Bowl earned in 2010.

Along with New Orleans, Monday’s game ranked as the highest rated ESPN bowl telecast ever in the Memphis (25.8), Greenville (24.5), Jacksonville (23.0), Austin (20.5), Greensboro (17.3), Orlando (16.6), Houston (16.2) and Providence (9.6) markets.

Ratings/Viewership For BCS National Championship Game
Past ten years

Season
Date
Bowl
Game
Net
Rating
Viewers (000)
2011-12
Mon., 1/9/12
BCS
ALA 21, LSU 0 ESPN
14.0
24,214
2010-11
Mon., 1/10/11
BCS
AUB 22, ORE 19 ESPN
15.3
27,316
2009-10
Thu., 1/7/10
BCS
ALA 37, TEX 21 ABC
17.2
30,776
2008-09
Thu., 1/8/09
BCS
FLA 24, OKLA 14 FOX
15.8
26,767
2007-08
Tue., 1/7/08
BCS
LSU 38, OSU 24 FOX
14.4
23,069
2006-07
Mon., 1/8/07
BCS
FLA 41, OSU 14 FOX
17.4
28,795
2005-06
Wed., 1/4/06
Rose
TEX 41, USC 38 ABC
21.7
35,630
2004-05
Tue., 1/4/05
Orange
USC 55, OKLA 19 ABC
13.7
21,419
2003-04
Sun., 1/4/04
Sugar
LSU 21, OKLA 14 ABC
14.8
23,937
2002-03
Fri., 1/3/03
Fiesta
OSU 31, MIA 24 ABC
17.2
29,104
2001-02
Thu., 1/3/02
Rose
MIA 37, NEB 14 ABC
13.8
21,559

(This year’s numbers from ESPN)

  • Thrifty

    I didn’t watch it because we do not have cable TV, thus no ESPN. Would have loved to watch the game but until it goes back on braodcast TV – I won’t be watching.

  • Quantrex

    ESPN has basically made the Bowl Series a pay-per-view. If you don’t have cable or satellite; you don’t watch at home. Period. Throw in a re-run as an excuse for a “championship” game with one of the teams (and eventual winner) not even a winner of their conference…..
    and you get exactly what you’d expect.

  • Anonymous

    I watched in Streaming High Def for free on ESPN3.  It was great quality with stats and comment section at your finger tips.  You don’t need cable or Satellite you just need a internet service provider that sponsors ESPN3. 

    Actually it is the only way I prefer to watch college sports supporting up to 4 high def games simultaneously on my 54″!

    Streaming High Def is the wave of the future…all NBC NFL games are of similar quality…the only way to view sports IMO!