ESPN’s coverage of the so-called “New Year’s Six” — six college football bowl games airing on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day — saw four of the six games improve on the ratings for the same bowl and same time slot a year ago, the network announced, even as a number of blowout scores contributed to a lower overall average rating.
“ESPN’s second presentation of the New Year’s Six (Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, Capital One Orange Bowl, Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic, BattleFrog Fiesta Bowl, The Rose Bowl Game Presented by Northwestern Mutual and the Allstate Sugar Bowl) averaged a 7.1 overnight rating,” the network announced.
“The 7.1 overnight rating average for the New Year’s Six — in which average margin victory across the six games was 24 points — is down 13% from last season’s 8.2,” the announcement adds. “The four bowls which were not designated as a semifinal this season (Peach, Fiesta, Rose, and Sugar) averaged a 5.8 overnight, up 26% from the four bowls last season which were not semifinals (Peach, Fiesta, Orange and Cotton).”
Burke Magnus, ESPN executive vice president of programming and scheduling, commented: “The College Football Playoff is a long-term, multiplatform play for us. With that said, there are many variables that impact ratings results including what happens on the field and the numbers this year were obviously impacted by the unbalanced scores of these games. Still, four of the New Year’s Six bowls posted double-digit ratings increases and we saw near historic successes for streaming the games on WatchESPN across the two days. College football is strong, vibrant and growing and we look forward to the National Championship game on January 11.”
The coverage posted significant audience growth across metrics on WatchESPN.
The announcement notes: “Digitally, the New Year’s Six averaged 200,170 average minute impressions, 776,000 unique viewers and 43,871,000 total minutes for the six games, up 69%, 54% and 67% in each category, respectively.”