ESPN’s coverage of the 101st Rose Bowl Game drew the second-largest audience in cable television history, only trailing the Sugar Bowl which followed it, according to live-plus-same day figures released by Nielsen on Friday.
An average of 28.16 million viewers watched Oregon’s 59-20 victory over Florida State Thursday in the first College Football Playoff Semifinal. Viewership was up 51 percent from the 18.64 million average for the 100th Rose Bowl on Jan. 1, 2014, in which Michigan State defeated Stanford, 24-20.
An average of 28.27 million viewers watched fourth-ranked Ohio State’s 42-35 upset of top-ranked Alabama in the second College Football Playoff Semifinal, a 150 percent increase from the 11.3 million average for Oklahoma’s 45-31 victory over Alabama.
Each of the 18 most-watched cable programs have aired on ESPN and 36 of the top 40.