January 8, 1999
NOTRE DAME, Ind. –– The participation by Notre Dame’s football team in the 1999 Toyota Gator Bowl helped prompt major gains in both attendance and television ratings for that event, compared to figures from the previous season.
The Notre Dame-Georgia Tech matchup at Alltel Stadium in Jacksonville, Fla., drew 70,791 fans, an increase of 30.8 percent compared to the 54,116 attendance figure from the ’98 game between North Carolina and Virginia Tech.
That 70,791 attendance figure marked the sixth highest overall among bowl games following the ’98 campaign.
Gator Bowl television ratings increased 94 percent from a year ago, with the ’99 rating of 6.4 (13 share) far outdistancing the 3.3 (7 share) numbers from the ’98 contest. Both games were televised by NBC Sports.
The 94 percent increase marked the third highest among all bowl games — trailing only the Fiesta Bowl national championship game between Tennessee and Florida State (it increased 197 percent to 17.2 and 26) and the Heritage Bowl between Bethune-Cookman and Southern (it increased 160 percent to 1.3 and 4, with the game moving from ESPN in ’97 to NBC in ’98).
The 6.4 Gator Bowl rating marked the sixth highest overall among all bowls. Only the Fiesta (17.2), Rose (13.3), Sugar (11.5), Orange (8.4) and Citrus (7.1) were higher.
The Gator Bowl gains came in a year in which ratings for the Orange (down 37 percent), Cotton (down 34 percent) and Rose (down 24 percent) Bowls all dropped markedly.