Better numbers could have been expected for the final BCS championship game, but the ESPN family of networks still attracted a large audience.
The Florida State/Auburn BCS National Championship Game drew a 14.8 final rating and 26.1 million viewers on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNEWS Monday night, down 2% in ratings and 1% in viewership from Alabama/Notre Dame on ESPN alone last year (15.1, 26.4M), but up 6% and 8%, respectively, from Alabama/LSU in 2012 (14.0, 24.2M).
The ESPN telecast drew a 14.4 and 25.6 million viewers. Numbers for the individual ESPN2 and ESPNEWS telecasts were not available.
FSU/Auburn ranks as the sixth-least viewed championship game of the BCS era (1999-2014), ahead of only Auburn/LSU in 2012, LSU/Ohio State on FOX in 2008 (23.1M), USC/Oklahoma on ABC in 2005 (21.4M), LSU/Oklahoma on ABC in 2004 (23.9M), and Miami/Nebraska on ABC in 2002 (21.6M).
With that said, the game also earned the third-largest audience in cable television history, trailing only Alabama/Notre Dame last year and Auburn/Oregon in 2011 (27.3M).
Compared to other sports, the BCS Championship Game ranks as the top non-NFL sporting event since Game 7 of the Spurs/Heat NBA Finals (15.3, 26.3M). Though down from last year, the game still managed to outdraw the Louisville/Michigan NCAA Tournament title game on CBS (14.0, 23.4M).
Among adults 18-49, the ESPN telecast drew an 8.7 rating — down 5% from last year (9.2), and even with 2011 (8.7).