BCS: Final Rating Strong For Bama Blowout, But Sixth-Lowest of BCS Era

Posted by | January 8, 2013 at 5:12 PM

Two of the biggest brands in college football could not overcome a lopsided result Monday night.

Monday’s Alabama/Notre Dame BCS National Championship Game drew a 15.1 U.S. rating and 26.4 million viewers on ESPN, according to Nielsen fast-nationals — up 8% in ratings and 9% in viewership from Alabama/Louisiana State last year (14.0, 24.2M), but down 1% and 3%, respectively, from Auburn/Oregon in 2011 (15.3, 27.6M).

The game ranks as the second-most viewed program in cable television history, behind only Auburn/Oregon in ’11. Excluding the NFL and the Olympic Games, the game also ranks as the most-viewed sporting event on any network since the ’11 title game.

With that said, Alabama’s easy win also ranks as the sixth-lowest rated and seventh-least viewed national championship game of the BCS era (15 telecasts).

Due to the high-profile teams involved, Alabama/Notre Dame had been widely expected to challenge the 2006 Texas/Southern Cal Rose Bowl as the highest rated and most-viewed game in BCS history. The 2006 game drew a 21.7 rating and 35.6 million viewers on ABC.

It is obvious that the uncompetitive nature of the game negatively impacted the numbers. The first half of the game averaged a 17.6 U.S. rating, up 14% from the first half of Auburn/Oregon two years ago (15.4). Alabama led 28-0 at halftime.

Even if the game was unlikely to challenge Texas/Southern Cal under any circumstances, a closer result would have at least resulted in a new cable television record.

Ratings/Viewership For BCS National Championship Game
Ranked by viewership

#
Date
Winner
Loser Victory Margin
Net
Rating
Viewers
1
Wed., 1/4/06 Texas USC
3
ABC
21.7
35.6M
2
Thu., 1/7/10 Alabama Texas
16
ABC
17.2
30.8M
3
Fri., 1/3/03 Ohio State Miami
7
ABC
17.2
29.1M
4
Mon., 1/8/07 Florida Ohio State
27
FOX
17.4
28.8M
5
Mon., 1/10/11 Auburn Oregon
3
ESPN
15.3
27.3M
6
Wed., 1/3/01 Oklahoma FSU
11
ABC
17.8
27.2M
7
Tue., 1/4/00 FSU Virginia Tech
17
ABC
17.5
27.0M
8
Thu., 1/8/09 Florida Oklahoma
10
FOX
15.8
26.8M
9
Mon., 1/7/13 Alabama Notre Dame
28
ESPN
15.1
26.4M
10
Mon., 1/4/99 Tennessee FSU
7
ABC
17.2
26.1M
11
Mon., 1/9/12 Alabama LSU
21
ESPN
14.0
24.2M
12
Sun., 1/4/04 LSU Oklahoma
7
ABC
14.8
23.9M
13
Mon., 1/7/08 LSU Ohio State
14
FOX
14.4
23.0M
14
Thu., 1/3/02 Miami Nebraska
23
ABC
13.8
21.6M
15
Tue., 1/4/05 USC Oklahoma
36
ABC
13.7
21.4M

(Monday’s numbers from ESPN Media Zone)