BCS Bowl Game Ratings Are Down Pretty Significantly in 2012 [UPDATE]

By Jason McIntyre

Are college basketball games and NBA games pulling viewers away from BCS bowl games? Ratings four three of the four BCS games on ESPN have been dreadful. Rose Bowl? Down. Sugar Bowl? Down. Orange Bowl? Way down. What probably stings even more is that three of the four games were competitive games until the final seconds (or went to overtime).

The only BCS bowl game that saw a spike in viewers in 2012 was the Fiesta (Andrew Luck’s overtime thriller against Oklahoma State). And part of the reason is because the 2011 Fiesta Bowl was such an awful matchup. It was the lowest-rated BCS game last year.

[UPDATEESPN has notified me that technically, prior to the Orange Bowl, the network was UP year-over-year when you take the average of the 2012 Rose, Fiesta and Sugar Bowls, even though two of the games were lowered-rated than the year prior. When you factor in the Orange Bowl, that is no longer the case.]

Orange Bowl (West Virginia over Clemson, 70-33): 5.3 rating.
In 2011, the Orange Bowl between Stanford and Virginia Tech drew a 7.1.

Sugar Bowl (Michigan over Virgina Tech, 23-20 in OT): 7.0 rating.
In 2011, the Sugar Bowl between Ohio State and Arkansas drew a 9.5.

Fiesta Bowl (Oklahoma State over Stanford, 41-38 in OT): 9.7 rating.
In 2011, the Fiesta Bowl between Oklahoma and Connecticut drew a 7.1 rating.

Rose Bowl (Oregon over Wisconsin 45-38): 11.8 rating.
In 2011, the Rose Bowl between TCU and Wisconsin drew an 13.1 rating. The 2010 Rose Bowl between Ohio State and Oregon drew a 13.8.