Outback Bowl Delivers Record Viewership for ESPN2 Network
The 29th edition of the Outback Bowl not only produced yet another thrilling college football game, but the highest rating and most viewers of any program in ESPN2 history, bowl officials announced today. The New Year's Day game featured 17th ranked Wisconsin surviving No. 19 Auburn 34-31 in overtime in a back-and-forth battle at Raymond James Stadium. The telecast generated a network best 3.8 rating and an average of 6.4 million viewers making it the most watched program on ESPN2 in the networks 21 year history.
"We are extremely excited to have set a record for our network partners at ESPN as the first game to kick off the most tradition-rich day of college football - New Year's Day," notes Outback Bowl President/CEO Jim McVay. "It was a wonderful kickoff to the biggest day in college football and an opportunity for millions of fans to be exposed to the Outback Bowl and our beautiful Tampa Bay community."
The game marked the third time in the past six years it went to overtime and the sixth consecutive year the Outback Bowl was decided either in overtime or the final minute. The game was also the 20th year for Outback Steakhouse as title sponsor, the longest title sponsorship of any current college bowl game.
The Outback Bowl attracts tens-of-thousands of out of market visitors each year from more than 40 states who join local fans in generating an economic impact estimated at $1 billion on the Tampa Bay area over its history. The game also generates tens-of-millions of dollars in exposure for the region each year and has contributed more than $123 million to universities over its history.