The Big 12 Conference office has provided Mizzou with the final television ratings for the 2009-10 college football bowl season, and it's always interesting to dig into the "science" of TV ratings. What the raw numbers show is that Mizzou's Texas Bowl appearance against Navy drew a rating of 2.47, which equates to roughly 2,444,617 households.
The rating ranked Mizzou's game 23rd of the 34 bowl games and 6th of the eight Big 12 bowl games. That might not be eye-popping numbers to tout, but a closer look also shows that the rating represented a whopping 626% increase from 2008, when Rice and Western Michigan drew a 0.34 rating (Rice won, 38-14). That was far and away the biggest jump in ratings for any bowl game, with the next biggest jump coming from the Independence Bowl, where Texas A&M and Georgia squared off (a 2.36 rating, which was a 143% jump from a 0.97 the year before. It's interesting to me to note that MU's game against Navy beat out a Texas A&M-Georgia matchup in the ratings. The Aggies and Bulldogs even squared off later in the day, (a 4 p.m. central kickoff on Monday, Dec. 28th, as opposed to MU's kickoff of 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 31st), which would seemingly give them a leg up on getting more viewers potentially.
The 2008 Texas Bowl was televised on the NFL Network, while this year's game had the advantage of moving to ESPN, which is in every home in the country which has cable or satellite. That certainly accounts for a large part of the increase, but surely the national profiles of both Mizzou and Navy played a significant role.
In the 2008 Alamo Bowl, when Mizzou beat Northwestern in overtime, the game ranked 10th among all bowl games that season, with a 4.57 rating.
As expected, the BCS title game between Texas and Alabama was the big winner, drawing a 17.17 rating, which was up 9% from a 15.82 a year ago. The big loser in the BCS mix? Also no big surprise, as the Fiesta Bowl had its ratings drop 21% with its matchup of two non-BCS league schools. The rating for the Boise State-TCU game still drew a respectable 8.23 rating (which ranked it 4th overall among all bowl games in 2009-10), but it was down 21% from a year prior, when Texas and Ohio State drew a 10.37 rating.
The Fiesta Bowl folks also took a hit on the ratings in their other game they host, the Insight Bowl. Their matchup of Iowa State and Minnesota was a ratings clunker, as the game drew a 0.83 rating (ranking it 33rd out of 34 bowls), which was down 30% from the previous year of 1.18 for a Kansas-Minnesota matchup. To be fair to our Big 12 brethren, the Insight Bowl was televised on the NFL Network, which means the ratings were destined to be low to start with, given the network's limited reach currently.
Television ratings certainly aren't the most important facet of running a bowl game event, but they are definitely something which comes into play, especially the next year when bowls have to hit the pavement and sell sponsorships and advertisements (i.e. - revenue). With that, it will be interesting to see if the downturn in ratings for the Fiesta Bowl/Insight Bowl combination will impact any decisions on who they invite to play in their games in the future.
Here's a quick rundown of how the ratings panned out...
2009-10 College Football Bowl Games
Rank Game - Teams Rating Change
1. BCS Title - Alabama vs. Texas 17.17 up 9%
2. Rose - Ohio State vs. Oregon 13.18 up 12%
3. Sugar - Florida vs. Cincinnati 8.50 up 9%
4. Fiesta - Boise State vs. TCU 8.23 down 21%
5. Capital One - Penn St. vs. LSU 6.83 up 6%
6. Orange - Iowa vs. Georgia Tech 6.80 up 26%
7. Alamo - Texas Tech vs. Michigan St. 5.61 up 23%
8. Emerald - USC vs. Boston College 5.34 up 15%
9. Chick-fil-A - Virginia Tech vs. Tennessee 4.90 up 25%
10. Meineke Car Care - Pittsburgh vs. North Carolina 4.56 up 1%
11. Cotton - Mississippi vs. Oklahoma State 4.54 up 4%
12. Champs Sports - Wisconsin vs. Miami, Fla. 4.53 down 13%
13. Liberty - Arkansas vs. East Carolina 4.38 up 63%
14. Holiday - Nebraska vs. Arizona 4.31 down 6%
15. Outback - Auburn vs. Northwestern 4.06 up 31%
16. Gator - Florida State vs. West Virginia 3.95 down 3%
17. Sun - Oklahoma vs. Stanford 3.31 up 48%
18. Little Caesars - Marshall vs. Ohio 2.97 up 19%
19. Poinsettia - Utah vs. California 2.81 down 25%
20. New Mexico - Wyoming vs. Fresno State 2.78 up 7%
21. GMAC - Central Michigan vs. Troy 2.73 up 25%
22. Las Vegas - Oregon State vs. BYU 2.58 up 2%
23. Texas - Mizzou vs. Navy 2.47 up 626%
24. Humanitarian - Idaho vs. Bowling Green 2.39 down 2%
25. Independence - Georgia vs. Texas A&M 2.36 up 143%
26. EagleBank - UCLA vs. Temple 2.20 down 2%
27. Hawaii - SMU vs. Nevada 1.97 down 35%
28. Music City - Kentucky vs. Clemson 1.95 down 30%
29. St. Petersburg - Rutgers vs. Central Florida 1.89 up 47%
30. Papa John's - South Carolina vs. Connecticut 1.84 down 7%
31. Armed Forces - Air Force vs. Houston 1.83 up 10%
32. International - South Florida vs. Northern Illinois 1.27 down 40%
33. Insight - Iowa State vs. Minnesota 0.83 down 30%
34. New Orleans - Southern Miss. vs. Middle Tennessee 0.76 down 4%