Television

College Football Playoff semifinal brings in New Year cheer to ESPN

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MUMBAI: While it has been just a few days since the year has reigned in, it has already brought in cheer to sportscaster ESPN. The sportscaster’s move to pay $7.3 billion over 12 years including a reported $610 million annual commitment this year has paid off if the TV ratings are taken into account. The two games of the inaugural College Football Playoff semifinals on ESPN on 1 January 2015, delivered the largest two audiences in cable television history claims the channel.



The Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual at 5 pm. ET –  wherein Oregon defeated previously unbeaten Florida State 59-20, the largest margin of victory in the Rose Bowl Game since 1948 – averaged 28,164,000 viewers (P2+), based on a 14.8 rating, according to Nielsen. On the other hand, the Allstate Sugar Bowl at 9 pm ET – Ohio State 42-35 over top-seeded Alabama – averaged 28,271,000 viewers, based on a 15.2 rating.



Speaking about the spurt in the TV ratings, ESPN executive vice president, programming and production John Wildhack said, “These record-setting numbers illustrate the enormous fan interest in college football and the wide-ranging appeal of the new college football playoff format,” He went on to add that the channel was excited to further build on the success when it showcases the first ever college football layoff national championship on 12 January.



Both games generated an increase over the ESPN bowl games in the respective 1 January time slots a year ago: a 51 per cent increase in viewership for the Rose Bowl Game (vs. 18,636,000) and 150 per cent increase for the Sugar Bowl (vs. 11,304,000). The ratings rose 45 percent (from 10.2) and 130 percent (from 6.6), respectively.

The average New Year’s Six game live on WatchESPN attracted 5,05,000 unique viewers, 26.2 million minutes viewed and an average minute audience of 118,000 – up by 229 percent, 214 percent and 198 percent, respectively, compared to the same dates last year, says the channel.



On social media, four million tweets were sent about the New Year’s Six Bowl games across the two days comprising 70 per cent of all tweets about TV programming in those 48 hours. Additionally, despite the score of the matchup between Florida State and Oregon in the Rose Bowl, it was the most tweeted about game of the New Year’s Six with 2.6 million tweets and ranks as the most tweeted about football game (NFL or college) of the 2014-15 season.



The New Year’s Day semifinal winners – Oregon and Ohio State (both 13-1) – will play in the inaugural championship presented by AT&T at 8 30 pm. on ESPN, WatchESPN and ESPN Radio. In addition, ESPN Deportes will provide exclusive Spanish-language coverage of the championship. ESPN Deportes Radio also will carry game, marking the first-ever national Spanish-language radio broadcast of a college football title game. As part of the deal to telecast the games, the sports caster will telecast seven games a year; four major bowl games, two semifinal bowl games and the national championship game.

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