The Bowl Championship Series had a modest increase in ratings and viewership on ESPN this season.
The five-game Bowl Championship Series averaged an 8.8 U.S. rating and 15.1 million viewers on ESPN, up 5% in ratings and 7% in viewership from last year (8.4, 14.1M), but down 8% and 10%, respectively, from 2010 (9.6, 16.7M).
This year’s 8.8 average rating is the second-lowest in the history of the BCS, ahead of only last year. The Orange (6.1) and Sugar (6.2) bowls finished tied as the third and fifth-lowest rated BCS games of all-time, respectively, while the Rose Bowl hit a record 9.4 rating.
The last time the BCS aired on broadcast television, 2010, the games averaged a 10.9 rating and 19.3 million viewers on ABC and FOX.
Though the numbers were low historically, 2013 marked the first time in three years that average ratings increased for the BCS. Increases for the BCS National Championship Game (+8%) and Orange Bowl (+36%) helped offset declines for the Fiesta Bowl (-12%) and Rose Bowl (-8%). The Sugar Bowl (+2%) was virtually even with last year.
Compared to other sports, the 2013 BCS ranks behind the 2012 NCAA Tournament Final Four (10.1, 17.1M, three telecasts*) and 2012 NBA Finals (10.1, 16.9M, five telecasts). However, the BCS did finish well ahead of the 2012 World Series (7.6, 12.7M, four telecasts).
* CBS Final Four averages approximate, not official.