Blog Entry

Television ratings not kind to BCS title game

Posted on: January 10, 2012 1:23 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli

Did you watch Alabama beat LSU 21-0 to win the BCS Championship last night? If not, you weren't alone in finding your television entertainment elsewhere.

The overnight ratings for the BCS National Championship Game show that last night's rematch between Alabama and LSU was the lowest-rated title game in the 14-year history of the BCS, bringing in a 13.8 overnight rating, a 14% drop from last year's game between Auburn and Oregon. The previous low had been set in 2002 when Miami played Nebraska for the title and the game brought a 14.3 rating.

There are a few factors that were no doubt in play here. First of all, it seems many college football fans were serious when they said they didn't want to watch a rematch of a game they'd already seen, particularly one that ended 9-6 the first time and didn't exactly provide a lot of excitement. Another factor to consider is that the game was broadcast on ESPN, which is available on cable packages and previous BCS games had always been broadcast on national networks.

The low ratings for the title game followed the trend of the other four BCS bowls as well, as the average rating of all BCS games dropped 10% from the 2010 season and 21% from the 2009 season. Again, this is likely a combination of the games now being broadcast on cable and college football fans who are tiring of the bowl system.

The good news is that with all the momentum that already seems to be in place for the BCS to add a plus-one system in the coming years, the drop in ratings may provide an additional kick in the pants. 

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Since: Dec 1, 2009
Posted on: January 11, 2012 12:47 am

Television ratings not kind to BCS title game

" Since ESPN got hold of all the BCS games and started to drag them out over the course of a's no wonder that ALL BCS ratings are down.  The college football season needs to end before the NFL playoffs begin. Period. PS And the fact that it was LSU/Bama Redux did not help matters, of course. "  --SergioP38

Amen to that. (1) Why did ESPN even bother to affiliate with ABC, if they're not going to use its wider reach to maximize viewership? There's a limit to how attractive their flagship cable network needs to be to keep its rights fees high. Plus, as for those who aren't now paying for even lower tier cable, they either aren't interested or that couldn't be any more broke. Trying to get money out of THEM is like trying to push a straw. (2) This is NFL nation. Only a moron goes against that grain. (Hear that, Bud Selig? Yeah, I meant you.) (3) The same guys who were so very certain that America had no interest in a rematch of Ohio State and Michigan several years back thought that doing LSU-Alabama again was a sweet idea. Way to drink the SEC Kool-Aid, hosers. News flash! These guys play great football, but that's mostly because they've got great line play. Me, I'm a Bo and Woody kind of guy; I dig it. Most of Anerica does not. Oddly enough, that Big Ten rematch would likely have been a far better game; there's more than a little history of exciting games involving the Wolverines over the last 30 some years. (Better football teams, on the whole than the SEC in recent years? No. Better results for Michigan? Not as often as I'd have liked. More spectacular plays and nail-biting finishes? Anyone who would argue that that's NOT the case is an impossibly obtuse SEC homer.)

Since: Aug 16, 2006
Posted on: January 11, 2012 12:27 am

Television ratings not kind to BCS title game

The BCS is watered down, there are 36 BOWL GAMES!!!!!!!!!!!   CUt out about 26 of these things so they actually have merit!  By the tmie the National title game is played im all Bowled out!  Its a stupid system, create a playoff... let the best team win!

Since: Dec 4, 2010
Posted on: January 10, 2012 11:35 pm

Television ratings not kind to BCS title game

Since ESPN got hold of all the BCS games and started to drag them out over the course of a's no wonder that ALL BCS ratings are down.  The college football season needs to end before the NFL playoffs begin. Period. PS And the fact that it was LSU/Bama Redux did not help matters, of course.

Since: Mar 3, 2007
Posted on: January 10, 2012 11:24 pm

Television ratings not kind to BCS title game

I have cable, but I did not wish to see these two teams play again, and while I appreciate defense, I was not thrilled about this matchup. Quite frankly, there were way better games played than this. ESPN, get ready...more and more people are dropping cable and satellite because out of 300 channels, only a few are worth watching. I think more and more fans basically feel that, after the last regular season game, there really is not much to care about except maybe their favorite team...if their team is either in a real bowl or a at least worth watching. I'm pretty sure that ESPN is looking at the reduced revenues that come from advertisers looking at them and saying, "You want me to pay what for that many people?". Watch for the "stunning announcement" within the next year or two (if not sooner) about the playoffs.

Since: Jan 1, 2012
Posted on: January 10, 2012 10:48 pm

Television ratings not kind to BCS title game

Last night's BCS Championship Game was about as exciting as watching dry paint dry even more.

Since: Dec 13, 2009
Posted on: January 10, 2012 10:46 pm

Television ratings not kind to BCS title game

I'm a bama fan and think they deserve the title this year and nothing anyone says will change they got the crystal football BUT I'm glad the ratings are low and I am glad people are complaing because we need change.  Plus one would be a great start and forget all these automatic bids that give horrible matchups in the other bcs bowls.  i don't mind the schools getting so much money because if they are run correctly,  they should be using the money to offer a higher quality education for this country's youth.  But the people paying the money should have a say so too.  repeat after me PLUS ONE

Since: Oct 18, 2009
Posted on: January 10, 2012 10:42 pm

Television ratings not kind to BCS title game

The issue is that the NCAAF is a business posing as a non-profit. I'm fine with either, but let's choose one and move forward. Bama/LSU was a horrible business decision because nobody outside of the SEC cared about it. There's no way of knowing if Bama/LSU really were the best teams because there is no playoff. Is nobody concerned about voters deciding their rankings before the game is even played? Who the heck voted LSU #1 after they lost 28-0? I boycotted the NC and I'm glad to hear that many others did too. No changes will be made until it hits their pocketbooks.

Since: Jun 3, 2011
Posted on: January 10, 2012 10:39 pm

Television ratings not kind to BCS title game

As good as the match up was and seemed earlier this year, they played and there was a final result.  When it comes to a championship game or a playoff with a plus one game, one of the qualifications people want is that the participants won their conference, both LSU and Alabama are in the same conference they  both can't win it.  More people would've rather seen a conference champion like Oklahoma State in this game, they were a one los team like Bama and won the Big 12.  The move towards 2014 and the new BCS should be 4 power conferences where the champions play in a seeded BCS Bowl format with a plus one pairing the winners 2 weeks after.

Since: Apr 17, 2008
Posted on: January 10, 2012 10:35 pm

Television ratings not kind to BCS title game

But the BCS system has to realize that they have to put a product out there that is crowd pleasing and not what they think the general public wants or should see.

Are you serious?????  You put the two best teams in the game, not the two who score the most points or have the prettiest uniforms.  Should we prohibit Baltimore and San Francisco from going to the Super Bowl this year since we all want to see Green Bay/New England?
Hell, most fans want to see Green Bay/New Orleans, so let's put them in the Super Bowl...

Since: Mar 13, 2007
Posted on: January 10, 2012 10:34 pm

Television ratings not kind to BCS title game

Excerpt from: The Shame of College Athletics - Atlantic Monthly, Oct. 2011

“I’M NOT HIDING,” Sonny Vaccaro told a closed hearing at the Willard Hotel in Washington, D.C., in 2001. “We want to put our materials on the bodies of your athletes, and the best way to do that is buy your school. Or buy your coach.”

Vaccaro’s audience, the members of the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics, bristled. These were eminent reformers—among them the president of the National Collegiate Athletic Association, two former heads of the U.S. Olympic Committee, and several university presidents and chancellors. The Knight Foundation, a nonprofit that takes an interest in college athletics as part of its concern with civic life, had tasked them with saving college sports from runaway commercialism as embodied by the likes of Vaccaro, who, since signing his pioneering shoe contract with Michael Jordan in 1984, had built sponsorship empires successively at Nike, Adidas, and Reebok. Not all the members could hide their scorn for the “sneaker pimp” of schoolyard hustle, who boasted of writing checks for millions to everybody in higher education.

“Why,” asked Bryce Jordan, the president emeritus of Penn State, “should a university be an advertising medium for your industry?”

Vaccaro did not blink. “They shouldn’t, sir,” he replied. “You sold your souls, and you’re going to continue selling them. You can be very moral and righteous in asking me that question, sir,” Vaccaro added with irrepressible good cheer, “but there’s not one of you in this room that’s going to turn down any of our money. You’re going to take it. I can only offer it.”

William Friday, a former president of North Carolina’s university system, still winces at the memory. “Boy, the silence that fell in that room,” he recalled recently. “I never will forget it.” 

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