Alabama’s 42-14 win over Notre Dame in the B.C.S. national championship game on Monday night was seen by an average of 26.4 million viewers, the second-biggest audience for a program in cable TV history. The most-viewed program was the 2011 B.C.S. title game, Auburn’s 22-19 win over Oregon, which was seen by 27.3 million viewers.
For the five B.C.S. bowl games, ESPN averaged 15.1 million viewers, up seven percent from last year.
The size of the Alabama-Notre Dame audience was attributable, in part, to the interest in seeing two storied college programs with national reputations meeting in the championship game. And despite the early blowout, viewers did not abandon the game.
The viewership was reasonably comparable to the audiences for past national championship games on broadcast networks. The game had more viewers than the 2002, ’04 and ’05 games on ABC, and the ’08 game on Fox. But it fell short of the 35.6 million in 2006 for Texas-Southern California, on ABC, and the ’03, ’07, ’09 and ’10 games on Fox.
Source: NY Times, 1/8/13