Allstate Sugar Bowl Is Most Watched Cable Program Ever
Sunday, January 4, 2015
The 81st edition of the Allstate Sugar Bowl, which doubled as a College Football Playoff Semifinal on Jan. 1, was the most watched program in cable television history. The game, which saw Ohio State defeat Alabama, 42-35, on ESPN, delivered a 15.2 rating, averaging 28,271,000 viewers.
This year's game was the highest-rated Sugar Bowl since the 2000 contest when Florida State held off a furious charge by Michael Vick and Virginia Tech to capture the BCS National Championship. That game, broadcast by ABC, garnered a 17.5 rating.
The other half of ESPN's inaugural College Football Playoff Semifinal doubleheader, the Rose Bowl Game Presented by Northwestern Mutual, also delivered tremendous numbers. Despite being a lopsided 59-20 win for Oregon over Florida State, the game posted a 14.8 rating with an average of 28,164,000 viewers.
"These record-setting numbers illustrate the enormous fan interest in college football and the wide-ranging appeal of the new College Football Playoff format," said John Wildhack, ESPN executive vice president, programming and production. "We are excited to build upon this success when we showcase the first-ever College Football Playoff National Championship on ESPN on January 12."
Both games generated significant increases over the ESPN bowl games in the respective January 1 time slots a year ago: a 51 percent increase in viewership for the Rose Bowl Game (vs. 18,636,000) and 150 percent increase for the Sugar Bowl (vs. 11,304,000). The ratings rose 45 percent (from 10.2) and 130 percent (from 6.6), respectively.
ESPN programming now holds the largest 18 audiences in cable television history, and 36 of the top 40.
* The Sugar Bowl now stands as the best college football game ever on WatchESPN based on unique viewers and minutes viewed. Check out the article: