ESPN's Sugar Bowl, Rose Bowl Deliver Cable's Two Largest Audiences Ever

Sugar Bowl Ratings

Touchdown!

ESPN’s coverage of this year’s Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl on Thursday evening wound up delivering cable TV’s two largest audiences ever.

At 5 pm, the match-up between Oregon and Florida State — despite being the most lopsided Rose Bowl contest since 1948, with a final score of 59-20 — drew 28.16 million total viewers, up 51 percent from last year.

Then at 9 pm, O-H-I-O State’s 42-35 victory over Alabama drew 28.27 million viewers, surging 150 percent from last year’s Sugar Bowl.

As noted by our sister site Deadline, ESPN is paying a reported $470 million annually in a 12-year deal to host the semifinal games of the College Football Playoffs, of which this is the inaugural year.