More Bowls: Fight Hunger, Gator Bowls Low on ESPN2; Armed Forces Up Big


ESPN2 did not have a very strong bowl season.

Tuesday’s Northwestern/Mississippi State Gator Bowl earned 2.2 million viewers on ESPN2, down 24% from Florida/Ohio State last year (2.9M), down 21% from Mississippi State/Michigan in 2011 (2.8M), and the least-viewed Gator Bowl since at least 2001 (viewership prior to 2002 was not available).

The game was outdrawn head-to-head by the Georgia/Nebraska Capital One Bowl on ABC (11.0M) and the South Carolina/Michigan Outback Bowl on ESPN (7.6M).

The other bowl game on ESPN2 this season put up an even worse performance. Last Saturday’s Navy/Arizona State Fight Hunger Bowl drew 1.1 million viewers on ESPN2, down 69% from Illinois/UCLA on ESPN last year (3.5M), and down 57% from Nevada/Boston College two years ago (2.5M).

The game aired directly opposite the West Virginia/Syracuse Pinstripe Bowl on ESPN (5.1M).

In other college football bowl news, the Air Force/Rice Armed Forces Bowl drew 3.3 million viewers on ESPN last Saturday, up 61% from BYU/Tulsa last year (2.0M), up 72% from Army/SMU in 2010 (1.9M), and the most-viewed edition of the game since at least 2007 (viewership prior to 2008 was not available).

(Tue. numbers from TV By the Numbers; Sat. numbers from Son of the Bronx)