Thursday, January 14, 2010

Big Ten Bowls Rule TV Screens...Except for One

Adam Rittenberg has a post up this morning on the success of the Big Ten excelling in bowl TV ratings.

From Rittenberg:
Here's what you need to know:
The Rose Bowl matchup between Ohio State and Oregon on ABC drew the second-highest rating (13.2) -- behind the BCS title game -- and reached 5,143,000 households and 24,025,000 viewers.

The Capital One Bowl between Penn State and LSU drew the fifth-highest rating (6.8), and had a six percent increase in viewership from last year.

The Orange Bowl between Iowa and Georgia Tech ranks sixth with a 6.8 rating but had a 26 percent increase in viewership.

The Outback Bowl between Northwestern and Auburn had a 30 percent increase in viewership on ESPN.

The Alamo Bowl matchup between Michigan State and Texas Tech was ESPN's most viewed bowl and the fifth-highest rated ever. It reached 5,554,000 households and 7,829,000 viewers, and drew a rating of 4.8, which ranked sixth overall and represented a 23 percent increase in viewership.

The Champs Sports Bowl between Wisconsin and Miami ranked 12th with a 3.9 rating but had a 13 percent drop in viewership.

The only bowl involving a Big Ten team which didn't do so well? You guessed it, the Insight Bowl with our very own Golden Gophers against Iowa State. And to say it "didn't do very well" would be like saying Tennessee fans are mildly upset about Lane Kiffin's departure: the Insight was the WORST rated bowl of all 34!!!

Here's a handy-dandy chart with all of the ratings, and as you'll notice, people would rather watch games like Central Michigan/Troy, Fresno St/Wyoming, and the ultimate kick in the crotch- Middle Tennesee St/Southern Miss. Yep two teams from the Sun Belt and C-USA had more viewers than Minnesota vs. Iowa State. I'm going to go out and on a limb and say that if the Gophers are the only Big Ten choice for the Insight next year, what would happen first- the Gophers decline the bid or the Insight forfeit the game? I can't wait to see how much money the U lost because of this game.


Anonymous said...

The Insight Bowl was the only bowl on NFL Network which essentially made it a pay-per-view bowl. This wasn't the only reason that it had poor viewership, but it obviously was a contributing factor. Your article is somewhat misleading.

I get CBS, ABC, FOX, ESPN and ESPN2, but I don't get NFL Network. How many other people are in that boat?

Jeff said...

The NFL Network is available in a mid-tier package for Comcast, DirectTV, and Dish Network. While it's not as available as the big networks or ESPN, it's still plenty available.

If it was on a more prominent network in the same NYE timeslot, how much do you think it would have bumped the ratings? It possibly could have bumped it out of the bottom five or so, but it's not taking it into the middle of the pack, and certainly not anywhere close to the other bowl games involving Big Ten teams. Whichever network you put this on, it would have gotten very low TV viewership.

mike said...

i am in a boat and an even worse boat. i don't get cable, watch games online or drive to another location. i agree that if the game was on ESPN2 it wouldn't have done much better, but a comparison of houses with ESPN vs. NFL network could at least provide a correction for comparison purposes.

did the sourced analysis do that or provide any explanation? sorry, didn't look into it.

the NFL network is plenty available at the bars around my house, but i doubt it is plenty available in households.

again, don't think it would have done much for a non-sexy matchup, especially with a gopher team collapsing as the year progressed.

thanks for all your work.

Jeff said...

Thanks Mike.

I do not argue that being on the NFL Network hurt the ratings, but because of the teams involved and the time slot it was in (5pm central New Year's Eve), it wasn't going to generate much in the way of viewership no matter which network it was on.

The ratings certainly don't take into effect that NFL Network doesn't got into anywhere near as many households as say ESPN does, but honestly that's part of the point: this game was on the NFL Network because nobody else wanted it.

The major networks didn't want it running up to, or into, their New Year's Eve programming, and ESPN didn't want any conflicts with the Chick-Fil-A bowl (which ended up being pretty one-sided with Va Tech thumping Tennesee. I didn't watch the game, but if ESPN wanted to hold its viewership, it just should have kept showing Lane Kiffin's wife. My goodness gracious. If I were a Vol's fan I'd be much more upset about losing her than One-and-Done Lane).

I'm not sure how much longer the NFL Network's contract runs with the Insight Bowl, but you have to think unless they change the time or day of the game, both sides would probably like to part ways. I'm sure the Big Ten Network would take it since the conference covers the losses the Gophers take by going to this game.