Jan. 10, 2006
The University of Notre Dame’s 2006 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl football appearance against Ohio State Jan. 2 on ABC Sports earned a 12.9 Nielsen television rating, up four percent from the comparable time slot a year ago (a 12.4 for Texas’ 2005 Rose Bowl win over Michigan).
The 12.9 rating marked the highest non-championship game rating for the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl since the start of the Bowl Championship Series in the 1998 regular season. The Fiesta Bowl earned 17.2 figures both for its Tennessee-Florida State title game in 1999 (’98 season) and its Ohio State-Miami championship matchup in 2003 (’02 season). The previous Fiesta high for a non-title game matchup was an 11.3 for Oregon vs. Colorado in 2002. Notre Dame’s other BCS appearance in 2001 in the Fiesta Bowl against Oregon State earned a 10.7 rating.
The 12.9 number represents Notre Dame’s highest rating of the 2005 season (the Oct. 15 Notre Dame-USC game on NBC drew a 6.7, highest of the regular season), its largest rating for any game since a 16.0 for the 1993 Notre Dame-Florida State contest – and its highest bowl rating since a 17.5 for the 1991 Orange Bowl (’90 season) between Notre Dame and Colorado.
Other recent ratings for Irish major bowl appearances included an 18.5 for the 1990 Orange Bowl vs. Colorado, a 15.0 for the 1989 Fiesta Bowl vs. West Virginia, a 12.5 for the 1996 Orange Bowl vs. Florida State, an 11.4 for the 1992 Sugar Bowl vs. Florida, an 11.3 for the 1994 Cotton Bowl vs. Texas A&M, and a 10.2 for the 1993 Cotton Bowl vs. Texas A&M.
The Tostitos Fiesta Bowl rating mirrored Notre Dame’s regular-season home game ratings on NBC Sports – which were up 44 percent from the previous year, based on a six-game 3.6 average in 2005. The 6.7 rating for the ’05 Notre Dame-USC game marked Notre Dame’s highest rating for a home game in more than a decade.
Meanwhile, the four 2006 BCS games combined for a 55.9 cumulative rating, up 27 percent from a year ago and the highest in the eight-year history of the BCS.