ESPN's coverage of its first two 2012 Bowl Championship Series contests scored an 8% rise from their counterparts in 2011.
ESPN's two BCS games -- the Rose Bowl presented by Vizio and the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl -- averaged a 10.7 household coverage rating, up from a 9.9 mark in 2011, according to Nielsen fast national data.
The Rose Bowl, a 45-38 win for Oregon over Wisconsin, drew an 11.8 rating, down 10% from last year's contest, 11.7 million homes and nearly 17.6 million viewers, down 14.6% from 20.6 million for TCU-Wisconsin.
Conversely, the Fiesta Bowl -- Oklahoma State outlasted Stanford 41-38 in overtime -- averaged a 9.7 coverage rating, up 37%, and 9.6 million homes and 13.7 million viewers up 35% and 27%, respectively, from last year's Oklahoma-UConn mismatch, which tallied 10.8 million watchers. The 2011 Rose and Fiesta Bowls were played on Jan. 1, 2011.
Excluding NFL games, the Rose Bowl ranks as the third most-viewed cable telecast and third highest-rated ESPN telecast of all time, behind only the 2011 BCS National Championship and 2011 Rose Bowl, excluding breaking news. This year's Fiesta Bowl is now ESPN's fourth highest-rated non-NFL telecast in history, according to officials at the worldwide leader.
The two BCS games scored better marks relative to male and adult demos, notching double-digit gains across the board - led by persons 18 to 34 and guys 18 to 34. Those groups saw respective increases of 23% and 21% from last year's pair of games.