Increase in Bowl Attendance; Viewership Increases and Ratings

Jan. 10, 2013
For Immediate Release
Football Bowl Association (FBA)

More Than Half of All Bowls Show Increase in Attendance

ORLANDO (FBA) – Eighteen of the 35 Football Bowl Association member bowls had increased attendance during this year’s bowl season. Overall, attendance at bowl games fell 2.4 percent this year compared to the same games last year, the Football Bowl Association announced today.

‘We had some great crowds at many bowls across the country, ‘ said Wright Waters, Executive Director of the Football Bowl Association. ‘Historically, the bowls have averaged close to 50,000 fans in attendance, and this year held true to form.’

The largest crowd of the bowl season belonged to the Rose Bowl Game presented by VIZIO with 93,359 fans in attendance to watch Stanford play Wisconsin. Finishing second in attendance, the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic had the second-largest crowd in the game’s 77-year history, with 87,025 on hand to watch Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M knock off Oklahoma.

Fourteen bowl games had crowds in excess of 50,000 and overall, 1,722,833 college football fans attended bowls this season.

‘If you compare bowl game attendance to other sports, including regular season college football, the stats this year measure up to what we are seeing across the country,’ said Waters. ‘There are lots of factors that affect attendance whether it is the state of the economy, weather or the matchups … many things bowls have control over, and many they don’t.’

For more information about the Football Bowl Association, visit

Click here for a printable .pdf version of this release.


Viewership Increases for ESPN Bowl Games

January 10, 2013

BCS National Championship Second Most-Viewed Cable Program Ever, Chick-fil-A Bowl Most-Viewed Non-BCS Bowl on ESPN Ever
Birmingham Tops All Markets

ESPN’s extensive coverage of the 2012-13 college football season – 306 exclusive regular-season games and 33 bowl game telecasts – concluded with multiple viewership highlights, including:

[1] The second most-viewed program in cable television history
[2] ESPN’s most-viewed and fourth most-viewed non-BCS bowl games ever
[3] Viewership increases for this season’s BCS bowls and non-BCS bowls over last year
[4] Birmingham averaging a 10.3 metered market rating for the 29 ESPN bowl game telecasts

Bowl Championship Series
ESPN averaged 15,131,000 viewers and a 10.1 household coverage rating (8.8 US rating) for its five BCS bowl game telecasts, a viewership and ratings increase of 7 percent (vs. 14,080,000) and 4 percent (9.8 coverage rating), respectively, over last season.

The BCS schedule was highlighted by the second most-viewed and second highest-rated program (US rating) in cable television history for the season-ending Discover BCS National Championship. The matchup – a 42-14 Alabama win over Notre Dame – averaged 26,380,000 viewers and a 15.1 US rating (17.5 coverage rating).

Most-Viewed Non-BCS Bowl & Post-Season Increase
The 2012-13 season also included two of ESPN’s top four most-viewed non-BCS bowl game telecasts ever with the Chick-fil-A Bowl and Outback Bowl. The Chick-fil-A Bowl New Year’s Eve telecast – a 25-24 Clemson victory over LSU – averaged 8,557,000 viewers (a 5.6 household coverage rating), making it the network’s most-viewed non-BCS bowl ever. The Outback Bowl on New Year’s Day – South Carolina beating Michigan 33-28 – is ESPN’s fourth most-viewed non-BCS bowl ever with an average of 7,583,000 viewers (a 4.9 household coverage rating).

This season also garnered ESPN’s 14th most-viewed non-BCS bowl game telecast with the Valero Alamo Bowl. The December 29 matchup of Texas beating Oregon State 31-27 averaged 6,757,000 viewers (a 4.8 coverage rating).

Overall, the 28 non-BCS bowl telecasts on ESPN, ABC, ESPN2 and ESPNU averaged 3,661,000 viewers and a 2.3 US rating – an increase of five percent for both (vs. 3,483,000 and 2.2) over last season.

Birmingham No. 1 in the Top 25 Metered Markets
Birmingham, the highest-rated metered market for ESPN’s regular-season telecasts for 12 straight years, was the highest-rated market for ESPN’s 28 non-BCS bowl telecasts, averaging a 10.3 rating. All 25 of the top markets averaged a 4.0 rating or better with Greenville, Austin, New Orleans and Knoxville posting a 6.0 or higher rating.

Three markets that were not among the top 25 highest-rated markets at the conclusion of the regular season made it to the top 25 for bowl telecasts: Kansas City (13th bowl vs. 26th regular season), Detroit (tied 14th bowl vs. tied 27th regular season) and Phoenix (tied 22nd bowl vs. tied 27th regular season). Meanwhile, three of the highest-rated markets at the conclusion of the regular season did not make the top 25 for bowl games: Norfolk (tied for 17th), West Palm Beach (tied 22nd) and Cleveland (tied 22nd).

The top 25 markets for ESPN’s bowl AND regular-season telecasts for the 2012-13 season:

Bowl Rank Market Bowl Rating Season Rank Market Season Rating
No. 1 Birmingham 10.3 No. 1 Birmingham 8.9
No. 2 Greenville 6.7 No. 2 Greenville 4.7
No. 3 Austin 6.2 No. 3 Knoxville 4.6
New Orleans 6.2 No. 4 New Orleans 3.7
No. 5 Knoxville 6.0 No. 5 Jacksonville 3.6
No. 6 Oklahoma City 5.9 Columbus 3.6
Columbus 5.9 No. 7 Atlanta 3.5
No. 8 Tulsa 5.5 No. 8 Oklahoma City 3.4
No. 9 Nashville 5.4 No. 9 Nashville 3.3
No. 10 Portland 5.1 No. 10 Memphis 3.1
Jacksonville 5.1 Austin 3.1
No. 12 Dayton 4.9 No. 12 Tulsa 2.5
No. 13 Kansas City 4.6 Charlotte 2.5
No. 14 Memphis 4.5 Las Vegas 2.5
Richmond 4.5 No. 15 Portland 2.3
Detroit 4.5 Richmond 2.3
Atlanta 4.5 No. 17 Orlando 2.2
No. 18 Orlando 4.4 Dayton 2.2
Las Vegas 4.4 Norfolk 2.2
No. 20 Tampa-St. Petersburg 4.1 No. 20 Louisville 2.1
Charlotte 4.1 Tampa-St. Petersburg 2.1
No. 22 Louisville 4.0 No. 22 West Palm Beach 2.0
Phoenix 4.0 Greensboro 2.0
Ft. Myers 4.0 Cleveland 2.0
Greensboro 4.0 Ft. Myers 2.0

Regular Season: Most-Viewed Series & Extensive Schedule Reaches Millions
ESPN’s Saturday Night Football Presented by Windows 8 on ABC was the highest-rated and most-viewed college football series among all networks carrying the sport this season with an average of 6,518,000 viewers and a 4.0 rating. The Saturday Night Football broadcast of Notre Dame defeating USC 22-13 on November 24 was ABC’s second most-viewed and second highest-rated regular-season game since 1991, averaging 16,059,000 viewers and a 9.4 rating.

For the season, ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPN3 covered 314 regular-season Football Bowl Subdivision games exclusively – 203 more than every other national network combined (CBS, FOX, NBC, FX, NBC Sports Network and CBS Sports Network).

Overall, ABC, ESPN and ESPN2 combined to reach more than 187,000,000 viewers via game telecasts. Combining ABC, ESPN, and ESPN2 with ESPNU’s extensive lineup and the networks averaged 2,018,000 viewers for 224 regular-season games. ESPN offered games across every day of the week with select Tuesday and Wednesday matchups and a regular schedule of Thursday, Friday and Saturday telecasts.

To view the original release, click HERE

22 thoughts on “Increase in Bowl Attendance; Viewership Increases and Ratings

    • Yeah, it just might.

      Although the article I posted said that Bowl Game attendance was on the rise, I also found an article that says college football game attendance (overall) is down.

      “USA Today, which has tracked college football bowl attendance for nearly 10 years, reports college football bowl game attendance this season is down an average of over 3,000 fans per game. Dwindling attendance costs the schools money, and scares away sponsors who want people to watch these games on television.”

      Link to article:

      • We are just seeing the beginning of the new taxes Obama has imposed on the common man. There are a mirade of new taxes yet to be implemented. So far this year, a couple making $45,000 will see $240 more, per month, being taken from their income. Other taxes are around the corner. Given this situation, people who normally would attend sports events probably will decide not to. Something will have to be cut from the average budget and it won’t be essentials. I think it is extremely sad, the path America is taking. In the end, it will all collaspe. No amount of head-in-sand attitude will stop the collaspe from happening. Everything commercial will be affected. We will see a domino effect. Thanks for taking time to address my comment and for providing the link. Keep on keeping on professor! 🙂

  1. I’m not surprised in the drop in attendance. There were far more obvious mismatches in the bowl games. Most of those mismatches came to fruition; so why spend money on a ticket when you know team X is going to crush team Y.

    • True…however, there are always those who are going to attend no matter what. Like me, even if I think my team will get stomped (or do the stomping), I typically still go to the games (including the bowl game).

      However, I am betting its simply an economic “down turn” thing, more than anything else. If the economy were better (generally speaking), we would probably see an increase in attendance (or, we would at least not see a serious drop).

      Then again, thats just my guess.

        • Oh, I definitely agree that the economy played a part.

          As for Utah State v. Toledo, or Ohio v. ULM…..well, I would have liked to have seen both of those games. Utah State had a great season and their coach ended up getting hired by Wisconsin. I would have liked to have seen them in person (I only saw them on TV a few times).

          I also saw Ohio and ULM on tv as well. This would have been the better of the two bowl games, or at least, if I had to pick only one of the two match-ups to see, I would have picked this one. I thought Ohio would have had a better season than they did after the PSU win, and ULM was pretty hot earlier this season too, after they beat Arkansas.

          Then again…thats just me.

          • I will say this about ULM; their AD has been fucking genius about how he has invested the paychecks from all those body bag games. That school is going to be good for a long, long while.

  2. You will soon see a shift from NFL game attendees to Bowl games such as these. Being a season ticket holder for the New York Jets (I know, bad investment) I would much rather go see a bowl game than an NFL game because of the atmosphere in general. However for gameplay, I much rather sit at home, and watch 4 games at once with the commentators….as annoying as they can be. Great Read

    • Hey, thanks for the read and the comment. I appreciate it.

      I too have reached the point where I find it hard to attend a game in person instead of watching it on tv. After all, I get great “seats” when I watch on tv, and it doesn’t cost me nearly as much as attending the game. I hate missing out on the atmosphere but when you consider all the factors involved, attending the game is more of a novelty item….while watching on tv is the best way to “digest” a game.

      Thanks again!

  3. Rising viewership , nothing new . Rising ticket prices , well that’s another story altogether . A sizable chunk of the tickets for these Bowl Games go the sponsors , and related businesses involved with the events in question . The fans are repeatedly being ” screwed over ” !

    • A sizable chunk? Really? How many? Do all the bowls do this, or just some? What kind of numbers are we talking about here?

      As for rising ticket prices….yeah, they have been going up and up lately.

      • Off course all the Bowls do it , it’s way of payback .

        The BCS National title game ticket nose bleed seats $ 850 , and close to sky-boxes on average $2500-00.

        And perhaps you should really take time to actually see some of the malfeasance actually going on with a number of these Bowl Committees and organizations ?

        Comes courtesy of the FBI

        Ex-Fiesta Bowl Chief Pleads Guilty to Federal Charge

        PHOENIX—The former executive director of the Fiesta Bowl has admitted his role in the making of illegal federal campaign contributions by the bowl. John Junker, 56, of Phoenix, pleaded guilty on March 13, 2012 to one count of conspiracy in federal district court in Phoenix. Junker was executive director from 1990 until 2011.

        Junker admitted that while serving as the Fiesta Bowl’s executive director, he conspired with others to solicit political campaign contributions from Fiesta Bowl employees and to later reimburse those employees in the guise of employee bonuses. Although Junker acknowledged that he knew that making campaign contributions in the name of others was illegal, he nonetheless instructed Natalie Wisneski, the Fiesta Bowl’s chief operating officer, to use bonuses to reimburse employees for their contributions. Wisneski is set to enter a guilty plea in federal court on March 15, 2012.

        Junker acknowledged directing reimbursement of approximately $25,000 in contributions made to federal election campaigns between 2006 and 2009, and additional amounts made to the campaigns of state and local candidates. Tax returns were filed with the IRS for the 2007 and 2008 tax years, which falsely reported that the not-for-profit Fiesta Bowl made no contributions to political campaigns and engaged in no lobbying activities. Junker admitted that he authorized these filings knowing that they contained false statements.

        Junker is scheduled to be sentenced by United States District Judge David G. Campbell on May 21, 2012.

        A conviction for conspiracy carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine, or both. The plea agreement provides that Junker’s sentence will not exceed two years. In determining an actual sentence, the court will consult the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, which provide appropriate sentencing ranges. Judge Campbell, however, is not bound by the guidelines in determining a sentence.

        The investigation in this case was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigations. The prosecution is being handled by Frank T. Galati, Assistant U.S. Attorney, District of Arizona, Phoenix.


        Just part of a sordid little system that even the NCAA would rather not open up Pandora’s Box on .

        Tophatal …………….

        • “you should really take time to actually see some of the malfeasance actually going on with a number of these Bowl Committees”

          Yes, I have read the entire Fiesta Bowl report on Mr. Junker. However, one report is not the same as a number of these Bowl Committees.” Unless you know of more of them. Please share if you do.

          As for BCS tickets….in the following two links, it says that Northern Illinois was selling Orange Bowl tickets for $75-$225.


          • Yeah the prices were exorbitantly higher .

            As to the Bowl Committees , since the shenanigans that took place many of these committees have now sought to show more transparency . To my mind the whole damn collegiate landscape is littered corruption across its panacea .

            Northern Illinois , please ! Who gives a hoot what they’re doing ?

            And the sheer bombastic nature of these conference commissioners and Bowl Committees cannot be looked upon with any veracity whatsoever !

            Tophatal ……………..

            • “Yeah the prices were exorbitantly higher.”

              They were? Okay, how much?

              “As to the Bowl Committees , since the shenanigans that took place many of these committees have now sought to show more transparency . To my mind the whole damn collegiate landscape is littered corruption across its panacea.”

              So, are you saying that all the Bowl Committees were like the Fiesta Bowl, but since Junker got busted, they have now cleaned up their act? That may be true, but is there any proof to that?

              As for the second part of the comment: “To my mind the whole damn collegiate landscape is littered corruption across its panacea.” – This comment either makes no sense, or I simply don’t understand what you are trying to say.

              “Northern Illinois , please ! Who gives a hoot what they’re doing ?”

              Well, I do. You said that seats in the nose bleed section of the BCS Title game were $850. So, I did a quick search for prices on BCS game tickets and found this article about UNI’s tickets. For the purpose of this discussion, the fact that UNI was giving the tickets away for free is more or less irrelevant…..I was only using it for comparison purposes (on ticket prices).

              “And the sheer bombastic nature of these conference commissioners and Bowl Committees cannot be looked upon with any veracity whatsoever !”

              I am guessing that this is almost an answer to one of my first questions (the one about whether all bowls were like the Fiesta but have recently cleaned up their act). This would lead me to believe you will answer that question with a “yes.”

              While I am not arguing whether you are right or wrong, I am only curious as to what makes you say this? Was their an article about it? A report? Some other facts? Just curious.

              I should also ask, what about their actions has been “bombastic” in nature??


              • “It’s in the nature of the beast “ It’d be naive to think that the Fiesta Bowl , were the only organization carrying on with that type of behavior . It’s as the saying goes …” try to keep your nose clean by not doing anything where you’re bound to suspected of wrongdoing ” . Fiesta Bowl , amongst that litany of stupidity , picking up hookers to entertain noted dignitaries , and using Bowl Committee documentation with regard for what were larcenous actions . .

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