GLENDALE, Ariz. — The Fiesta Bowl drew a 4.6 TV rating and averaged 7.4 million viewers, according to ESPN. The game was the highest-rated in its New Year’s Eve time slot (2 p.m. Mountain) in ESPN history.
Boise State beat Arizona 38-30 on Wednesday afternoon at University of Phoenix Stadium.
The ratings for the first New Year’s Six tripleheader steadily increased through the day — the Peach drew a 3.4 at 10:30 a.m. and the Orange posted a 5.0 at 6:30 p.m.
The audience was more than double that for any other Boise State game this season. The previous best was 3.38 million viewers for the Boise State-Connecticut game that aired regionally on ABC and elsewhere on ESPN2.
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Still, the rating was significantly lower than for the Broncos’ previous Fiesta Bowl appearances — games that began after 6 p.m. The 2010 game against TCU drew an 8.2 rating (13.8 million viewers) and the 2007 game against Oklahoma drew an 8.4 rating. Both of those games aired on Fox.
The lowest-rated game of the Bowl Championship Series era (1998-2013) received a 5.3 rating. The BCS put all games in prime TV slots. The new College Football Playoff has clustered the six biggest bowl games in two tripleheaders on Dec. 31 and Jan. 1, which places four of the games outside of prime time.
“The first New Year’s Eve tripleheader in the new College Football Playoff era on ESPN generated our largest New Year’s Eve college football audience ever, delivering on our goal of reclaiming the New Year’s holiday for college football fans,” Burke Magnus, ESPN senior vice president for programming and acquisitions, said in a press release.
Boise State’s viewers by game this season (data provided by ESPN/CBS; games on CBS Sports Network weren’t rated):
7.406 million: Dec. 31 vs. Arizona in the Fiesta Bowl (2:20 p.m., ESPN), 4.6 rating.
3.38 million: Sept. 13 at Connecticut (10 a.m., ABC/ESPN2). Drew a 1.9 rating on ABC and 0.3 rating on ESPN2.
2.418 million: Aug. 28 (Thursday) vs. Ole Miss in Atlanta (6 p.m., ESPN), 1.5 rating.
1.623 million: Oct. 17 (Friday) vs. Fresno State (6 p.m., ESPN), 1.0 rating.
1.5 million: Dec. 6 vs. Fresno State (8 p.m., CBS), 1.0 rating.
1.024 million: Oct. 24 (Friday) vs. BYU (7 p.m., ESPN), 0.6 rating.
686,000: Sept. 6 vs. Colorado State (8:15 p.m., ESPN2), 0.4 rating.
556,000: Nov. 22 at Wyoming (8:15 p.m., ESPN2), 0.3 rating.
433,000: Nov. 15 vs. San Diego State (8:15 p.m., ESPNU), 0.3 rating.
427,000: Nov. 29 vs. Utah State (8:15 p.m., ESPN2), 0.3 rating.
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