2014 BCS Wrap: In Final Year, BCS Averages Highest Rating Since 2011

Posted by | January 8, 2014 at 7:05 AM

The final edition of the Bowl Championship Series was the highest rated and most-viewed in four years.

ESPN averaged a 9.4 U.S. rating and 16.5 million viewers for the five-game BCS, up 7% in ratings and 9% in viewership from last year (8.8, 15.1M), up 10% and 15%, respectively, from 2012 (8.4, 14.1M), and the highest rated, most-viewed BCS since 2011 (9.6, 16.7M).

Four of the five BCS telecasts increased over last year, highlighted by the most-viewed Sugar Bowl in thirteen years and the most-viewed Orange Bowl in five. With that said, the Orange and Fiesta bowls ranked among the ten lowest rated, least-viewed games of the BCS era (1999-2014), and the Rose Bowl tied its second-lowest rating ever.

Compared to other sports, the 2014 BCS averaged a higher rating and more viewers than last year’s World Series (8.9, 14.9M), but trailed both the NBA Finals (10.5, 17.7M) and the NCAA Tournament Final Four (11.0, 18.3M*).

With the BCS now over, here are a couple of notes. The 2006 USC/Texas Rose Bowl was the highest rated and most-viewed game of the BCS era by a wide margin (21.7, 35.6M). On the other end of the spectrum, the 2012 West Virginia/Clemson Orange Bowl was easily the lowest rated and least-viewed (4.5, 7.2M).

Excluding BCS national title games, the highest rated BCS bowl was the 2004 USC/Michigan Rose Bowl (14.3) and the most-viewed was also a Rose Bowl — a tie between Ohio State/Oregon in 2010 and USC/Michigan in 2007 (24.0M). The top non-championship Fiesta Bowl was Ohio State/Notre Dame in 2006 (12.9, 20.6M), which aired in the traditional Rose Bowl slot of 4:30 PM New Year’s Day. The top Sugar Bowl was Miami/Florida in 2001 (13.0, 19.8M), and the top Orange Bowl was Penn State/Florida State in 2006 (12.3, 18.6M).

The lowest rated Rose (2013), Orange (2012), Sugar (2012) and Fiesta (2011) bowls of the BCS era each took place since ESPN began airing the games in 2011.

TV Ratings For Every BCS Game (1999-2014)

Viewership provided where available
Year
BCS Champ.
Rose
Fiesta
Sugar
Orange
Rtg.
Vwrs.
Rtg.
Vwrs.
Rtg.
Vwrs.
Rtg.
Vwrs.
Rtg.
Vwrs.
2014
14.8
26.06M
10.2
18.64M
6.6
11.24M
9.3
16.34M
6.7
11.40M
2013
15.1
26.38M
9.4
17.02M
7.4
12.31M
6.2
10.13M
6.1
10.56M
2012
14.0
24.21M
10.2
17.56M
8.4
13.68M
6.1
9.71M
4.5
7.17M
2011
15.3
27.32M
11.3
20.56M
6.2
10.82M
8.2
13.64M
6.7
10.68M
2010
17.2
30.78M
13.2
24.03M
8.2
13.82M
8.5
15.53M
6.8
10.88M
2009
15.8
26.77M
11.7
20.60M
10.4
17.06M
7.8
13.37M
5.4
9.32M
2008
14.4
23.07M
11.1
19.00M
7.7
12.16M
7.0
11.70M
7.4
11.96M
2007
17.4
28.80M
13.9
24.03M
8.4
13.78M
9.3
14.42M
7.0
10.66M
2006
Rose
21.7
35.63M
12.9
20.60M
9.0
13.59M
12.3
18.56M
2005
Orange
12.4
20.46M
7.4
12.22M
9.5
14.20M
13.7
21.42M
2004
Sugar
14.3
23.87M
8.5
13.69M
14.8
23.94M
9.1
14.18M
2003
Fiesta
11.3
18.30M
17.2
29.10M
9.2
15.11M
9.7
15.24M
2002
Rose
13.8
21.56M
11.3
18.23M
8.6
13.06M
9.5
14.03M
2001
Orange
14.0
N/A
10.7
17.48M
13.0
19.78M
17.8
27.24M
2000
Sugar
14.1
N/A
9.6
14.40M
17.5
26.96M
11.4
17.00M
1999
Fiesta
13.3
N/A
17.2
26.11M
11.5
N/A
8.4
N/A

* CBS Final Four averages unofficial.

(This year’s averages from ESPN Media Zone)

  • Nate Johnson

    BCS helped College Football so much! There was more positives than negatives as a whole for the BCS. The fact that at the end of the year we had a chance of watching the top 2 ranked teams play against each other and not depend on voters was awesome. Also, seeing upsets and classic finishes was fun to watch as well in other BCS games… BCS wasn’t perfect and I had problems with it at 1st because I felt more than 2 teams in certain years deserved to play for a Title or some match-ups they set up wasn’t on par, but nonetheless when I look back at the BCS I think it’s only right to say they were right more than wrong especially after the 2004 season.

    Of course some teams and games help make that possible during the regular season, but its all because the BCS made it possible for College Football to be known as the best Regular Season sport we have. I have no problem with the 4-team playoff I think it will give ESPN Great Ratings as well as College Football lots of Money and for the fans/viewers it will be something to look forward to.

    I know Brent Musburger signed an extension with ESPN and what I’m about to say is a long shot, but I hope ESPN rotates commentators pairings for the National Championship like ABC did after Keith Jackson stepped down in 1999. I think it would be nice if Nessler/Blackledge, McDonough/Speilman and Tessitore/Millen gets a chance to call some National Championship games. I think Herbstreit and Musburger wouldn’t mind for that to happen.