ESPN’s first two Bowl Championship Series telecasts of 2013 – the Rose Bowl and Orange Bowl on Tuesday, Jan. 1 – combined to average an 8.0 metered market rating, according to Nielsen. The two-game average marks an increase of 11 percent over a 7.2 average overnight rating for the 2012 Rose Bowl and Orange Bowl games.
The 2013 Orange Bowl – No. 12 Florida State beating No. 15 Northern Illinois 31-10 – averaged a 6.5 overnight. With the telecast, ESPN won the night as television’s most-watched network – broadcast or cable. This year’s telecast is 44 percent higher than the 2012 game, a 4.5 rating for No. 23 West Virginia defeating No. 15 Clemson 70-33.
The 2013 Rose Bowl, in which No. 6 Stanford defeated unranked Wisconsin 20-14, earned a 9.6 overnight, the highest on cable television outside of ESPN’s NFL games since the 2012 Bowl Championship Series National Championship. The telecast is down 3 percent from a 9.9 rating for last year’s game, which saw No. 5 Oregon defeat No. 10 Wisconsin 45-38 in the highest scoring Rose Bowl ever.
In the markets of participating teams, the Rose Bowl averaged a 31.1 rating in Milwaukee, the second highest rating for an ESPN bowl game in the market on record (back to 2000). ESPN’s coverage earned a 12.3 rating in San Francisco, the market’s third highest-rated bowl on ESPN networks. The telecast also averaged a 20.7 in Birmingham, 19.8 in Columbus, 15.6 in Dayton and 14.0 in Portland.
The Orange Bowl averaged an 11.1 overnight in Chicago, the second highest ESPN bowl rating in Chicago on record. It also garnered a 14.1 in Jacksonville and 11.9 in Orlando, marking the fourth and third highest-rated bowl games on ESPN in the markets, respectively. ESPN’s coverage recorded a 19.9 in Birmingham, 11.7 in Oklahoma City and 10.7 in Greenville.