ABC’s coverage of Tuesday night’s Florida State-Virginia Tech Sugar Bowl not only settled who’s the No. 1 college football team in the country, but made a pretty good case for what’s the No. 2 championship-sports telecast of the past year.
The Alphabet’s Jan. 4 gridcast finished behind only last January’s Super Bowl in total viewers and adults 18-34 among major championship sporting events televised over the last 12 months, outscoring college basketball’s championship game in March for the runner-up slot in both categories.
College hoops tied Tuesday’s football for second in adults 18-49, while the clinching game of baseball’s World Series nosed ahead of college football for second place in households (with the Super Bowl dominating in all categories).
Best since ‘Home’ finale
Tuesday’s Florida State-Virginia Tech coverage attracted 26.98 million viewers during an average minute, for ABC’s biggest Tuesday audience since last May’s “Home Improvement” finale. It was also a 3% increase over the year-ago Tennessee-Florida State Fiesta Bowl, that season’s college football title game.
In adults 18-49, Tuesday’s telecast was also up 3% to an 11.0 rating, 28 share. That doubled the night’s second-place competition, Fox’s rerun of “Mrs. Doubtfire” (14.11 million viewers, 5.4/13 in adults 18-49).
In households, it was the second-lowest-rated college-football title game of the last eight years, but still competitive, down just 3% vs. what those previous seven telecasts averaged.
In total viewers, the top sports title-game telecasts of the past year have included Fox’s Super Bowl (83.72 million), Tuesday’s Sugar Bowl (26.98 million), the college hoops championship on CBS in March (26.30 million), last year’s Fiesta Bowl (26.11 million) and game four of the World Series (25.84 million).
A below-average NBA Finals matchup settled for 15.52 million viewers for its deciding game five. In most years, longer final series for the NBA title and the World Series produce higher viewer totals for those deciding games.
Each adults 18-49 rating point reps 1.24 million viewers, 1% of the U.S. total. The share is also a percentage, but measured against only viewers watching TV during the slot involved.