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ESPN Bowls Over Last Year’s Pigskin Ratings

1/08/2009 5:41 AM Eastern

ESPN and ESPN2 telecasts of 23 college football games in the past two weeks garnered an average of 2.8 million homes and a 2.5 rating, up 8% from last year’s bowl bonanza, network officials said Thursday.

Last year, the networks combined to average 2.59 million homes and a 2.3 rating for the 21 bowl games it televised across its family of networks.

This year’s high-water mark came during ESPN’s coverage of the Champs Sports Bowl on Saturday, Dec. 27. Florida State’s 42-13 victory over Wisconsin was watched by an average of more than 5 million viewers (a 5.2 rating), making it the network’s second-most-watched bowl ever. The Dec. 30, 2006 Alamo Bowl between Texas and Iowa still holds the network’s total viewership spot with a 6.0 rating.

Thanks to the popularity of the Champs Sports Bowl, ESPN won the ratings night on Dec. 27, outpacing the cable competition with an average of 4.53 million viewers and a 4.6 rating for the Emerald Bowl and solid victories across multiple demographics including people 18-34, men 18-34, men 18-49 and men 25-54.

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