NCAA Bowls: Texas Bowl Most-Watched Ever; Friday’s Other Bowls Down


ESPN earned good numbers for the Texas Bowl on Friday night.

The Minnesota/Texas Tech Texas Bowl earned 4.6 million viewers on ESPN Friday, up 17% from Texas A&M/Northwestern last year (3.9M), up 9% from Illinois/Baylor in 2010 (4.2M), and the largest audience in the six-year history of the game.

Through Friday’s action, the Texas Bowl was the most-watched game of the 2012-13 bowl season, edging the December 22 Las Vegas Bowl (4.4M).

Friday’s other bowls did not fare nearly as well.

The Rutgers/Virginia Tech Russell Athletic Bowl drew 3.9 million viewers, down 25% from Florida State/Notre Dame last year (5.2M), but up 21% from North Carolina State/West Virginia in 2010 (3.3M).

In the first game of ESPN’s tripleheader, the Louisiana-Monroe/Ohio Independence Bowl drew 1.7 million viewers — down 30% from Missouri/North Carolina last year (2.5M), down 22% from Air Force/Georgia Tech in 2010 (2.2M), and the least-viewed edition of the game since Louisiana Tech/Northern Illinois in 2009 (1.2M).

The Independence Bowl ranked as the least-watched game of the 2012-13 bowl season through Friday.

(Friday’s numbers from TV By the Numbers)