Post Type:post Let's Go Bowling | Viamedia

College Football Bowl Season

If you think you’ve been seeing more College Football Bowl Games than ever before, then your eyes are not deceiving you. And if you are a Baby Boomer born in the ‘50s or ‘60s, you’ve definitely witnessed a geometric expansion in post-season play due to one single entity – ESPN, which this season will telecast 34 bowl games, beginning with five games on December 17th, and culminating in the National Championship on January 9th, 2017:

In terms of audience performance, live sporting events in general have fared well in the face of declining television HUT levels, and the College Bowl Games are no exception. Over the past several seasons, ESPN has delivered solid U.S. household ratings hovering around the 3.5 level. And given that ESPN has held onto its Bowl ratings — while overall television usage has declined – translates into higher share levels, with last Bowl Season’s share breaking through the 7.0 level:

This upcoming bowl season represents the third year of the current college football playoff format in which the top four ranked teams in the nation (i.e., after the final regular season game) vie to be crowned the National College Football Champion. (This season it comes down to four traditional powerhouses: the Crimson Tide of Alabama, the Clemson Tigers, the Washington Huskies and the Buckeyes of Ohio State.) As you can imagine, there is always some controversy swirling around rankings of any sort (which has become a sport unto itself), but there was never a doubt that the playoff bowl games would generate tremendous fan interest. Last year’s games were no exception with the National Championship Game between the Clemson Tigers and the University of Alabama generating a 15.2 U.S. Household rating (good for a 22.5 share):

The National Championship Game

Below we’ve tracked the U.S. household ratings and shares for the past five Bowl Games that led to one team being crowned the Division I National College Football Champion. While last year’s national championship between Clemson and Alabama fell a tad short of the record audience level from the prior year (Oregon versus Ohio State), the overall trend in viewing is decidedly on the upswing:

Hometown Cooking

We’ve noted in several past sports-oriented blogs that national cable ratings are just the tip of the iceberg, and that local market viewership goes through the roof when home teams are involved in national telecasts. The Top 5 highest rated DMAs for last year’s National Championship Game are all located within the home States of the participating teams, Clemson and Alabama:

Upscale Viewing

College Football Bowl Games on ESPN pack a double punch – a large, highly engaged audience that also happens to be upscale. As can be seen in the chart below, the household ratings by income top out at $125,000 – $149,000 (118.8 Index):


Local Cable Advertising Demand

Local cable advertising demand for College Football Bowl games has been very strong. Over the past two Bowl Seasons (2014-15 & 2015-16), nearly 1,200 Viamedia clients ordered 22,600 30-second units across 63 markets (85% of our national footprint.) That comes to 9.5 spots per client (per Bowl Season.)
Source: Viamedia internal analysis of B.I.G.SM database (Sports & High Profile Tracker module). Copyright © 2016 by Viamedia, Inc. All Rights Reserved.)

In terms of local cable advertising categories, football (any football, collegiate or professional) is a magnet for automotive dollars. Over the past two seasons, over 500 local automotive dealers and manufacturers ordered 10,000+ spots in college football bowl games. In all, they represent almost one-half of all advertising investments. The second largest category – Financial — captured 9% of all category sales which is double the level we typically see for this category company-wide:

December 17th Start

The 2016-17 college football bowl season gets underway December 17th with a quintet of games, and then runs its course over the next 23 days, culminating in the supernova of all bowl games, the “College Football Playoff National Championship” in Tampa Bay, Florida (Raymond James Stadium.) Last year, Alabama just nudged past Clemson in a nail-biter to claim the overall national title, and given that both teams are in the Final 4 once again, there’s a good chance they’ll meet for a second year in a row for the ultimate prize of college football. But whoever claims the national title this year, one thing is certain — between all of the “minor” bowls; the “major” bowls; and the final three playoff bowls, there will surely be enough games to satisfy the most ardent college football fans across the nation. Buckle-up your chin strap.

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