Bowl games boost ESPN

Football matchups earn record ratings on cabler

The college football bowl season continues to pay big dividends for ESPN.

The New Year’s Day games, specifically, saw a significant uptick. Nearly 24 million viewers tuned in to see Ohio State defeat Oregon in the Rose Bowl, a 16% increase from the 20.6 million who caught last year’s Penn State-USC game.

Capital One Bowl, which pitted Penn State against LSU, was up 8% with 11.6 million viewers watching.

Cabler has offered a smorgasbord of gridiron matchups lately. From Dec. 31 through Jan. 2, net televised seven games and six posted increases.

ABC will have a ratings bonanza Thursday night when it telecasts the national championship game from the Rose Bowl. No. 2-rated Texas will play No. 1-rated Alabama for the title.

Despite the attractive matchup, it might be difficult to beat the all-time Bowl Championship Series title game record when 35.6 million viewers watched Texas defeat USC in 2006. That matchup was also on ABC and is the last BCS title game to air on the Alphabet.

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