Tebow's farewell game drew 15.5 million viewers.
Two New Year’s Day farewells in college football had mixed TV ratings. And locally, Tim Tebow’s farewell was more popular on TV than Bobby Bowden’s.
Tebow’s final college football game with the University of Florida in the Sugar Bowl on Friday night drew a national overnight rating of 8.5, with a 15 share, second only to the Rose Bowl (13.8 share) among New Year’s Day games.
More than 15.5 million viewers watched as Tebow set personal records for passing yardage to help dismantle Cincinnati 51-10. That represented a 57 percent increase over the BCS game in the same time slot last year, the Orange Bowl between Virginia Tech and Cincinnati, and a 9 percent increase over last year’s Sugar Bowl between Alabama and Utah.
The Jacksonville market came within a razor’s edge of getting the highest local ratings for the Sugar Bowl, with a 26.5 rating and a 42 share. Cincinnati had a 27.1 rating and a 42 share.
The other sendoff came in the Konica Minolta Gator Bowl for Florida State coach Bobby Bowden, and was the only letdown of one of the game’s most memorable weeks. The overnight rating for the game on CBS was a 4.3, with a 9 share — flat compared to last year’s game between Nebraska and Clemson.
However, Gator Bowl Association president Rick Catlett isn’t about to let that spoil the week — especially because the bowl season will likely end with the Gator Bowl having the third-highest attendance, behind only the two games played in Pasadena, Calif., the Rose Bowl between Ohio State and Oregon and Thursday’s BCS national championship game between Alabama and Texas.
“Anything [ratings] in the 4s is good for us,” Catlett said Monday. “We had hoped for something 5 or above, and our average over the last 10 years is 4.7. But we’re ecstatic with how the week went overall, starting with the attendance. We broke a Gator Bowl record, and that’s where the money is made.”
The Jacksonville market had a 21.1 rating and a 37 share for the Gator Bowl.
The Gator Bowl is second to the Rose Bowl in attendance among bowl games this season. Ohio State’s victory over Oregon was watched by 93,963, while 84,129 were at the Jacksonville Municipal Stadium to see the Seminoles beat West Virginia 33-21 in Bowden’s final game as the FSU coach. The previous Gator Bowl record was 82,911 in 1989 for a game between Clemson and West Virginia.