New Years Six Continue to set New Bowl Records: Capital One Orange Bowl and PlayStation Fiesta Bowl are Most-Watched, Non-CFP Semifinal Orange and Fiesta Bowl in NY Six Era

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  • Orange Bowl: More than 11.7 Million Viewers, up 2% from Last Season’s Epic Orange Bowl and up 31% from Year One of New Year’s Six Era 
  • Fiesta Bowl: Over 10.1 Million Viewers, Surpasses New Year’s Day Ohio State-Notre Dame Fiesta Bowl and up 37% from Inaugural New Year’s Six Year 
  • New Year’s Six: ESPN Now up 47% From Similar First Year Schedule; All Three Games are Most-Watched, Non-CFP Semifinal of Its Respective Game

This season’s New Year’s Six continues to set new individual New Year’s Six era bowl records, as the Capital One Orange Bowl (8 p.m.) and the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl (4 p.m.) on Saturday, Dec. 30, were the most-watched non-CFP Semifinal Orange and Fiesta Bowl in the New Year’s Six era based on Nielsen’s Fast Nationals. The new viewership highs for the Orange and Fiesta Bowl come one day following the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic delivering the same record non-CFP Semifinal Cotton Bowl audience.

Nearly 12 Million Viewers Tune into Orange Bowl
The Orange Bowl featuring Wisconsin vs. Miami earned a Nielsen reported 11,727,000 viewers based on Fast Nationals, up 2% from last season’s Orange Bowl, which featured a thrilling Florida State victory over Michigan (Dec. 30, 2016) and up 31% from the 2014 Orange Bowl (Dec. 31, 2014), the first year of the New Year’s Six. The 2015 season’s Orange Bowl was a CFP Semifinal.

Washington-Penn State Fiesta Bowl Outdraws New Year’s Day Ohio State-Notre Dame Fiesta Bowl
The PlayStation Fiesta Bowl between Washington and Penn State earned 10,167,000 viewers, up 4% from the 2015 season, New Year’s Day Fiesta Bowl which featured Notre Dame and Ohio State. The audience for the Nittany Lions’ victory was also up 37% from the 2014 Fiesta Bowl (Dec. 31, 2014).

Orange Bowl and Fiesta Bowl Rank Among Most-Watched Non-CFP Semifinals in New Year’s Six Era
This year’s Orange Bowl is the third most-watched non-CFP Semifinal game of the New Year’s Six era, trailing only the two New Year’s Day Rose Bowl games. The Huskies-Nittany Lions Fiesta Bowl is the fifth most-watched game in the same category:

Most-Watched Non-CFP Semifinal Games of New Year’s Six Era

Rank Viewership Date Matchup Network Game
1 15,740,000 Jan 2, 2017 USC vs. Penn State ESPN Rose Bowl Game Presented by Northwestern Mutual
2 13,552,000 Jan 1, 2016 Stanford vs. Iowa ESPN Rose Bowl Game Presented by Northwestern Mutual
3 11,727,000 Dec. 30, 2017 Wisconsin vs. Miami ESPN Capital One Orange Bowl
4 11,461,000 Dec. 30, 2016 Michigan vs. Florida State ESPN Capital One Orange Bowl
5 10,167,000 Dec. 30, 2017 Washington vs. Penn State ESPN PlayStation Fiesta Bowl

All audiences numbers are Nielsen-reported

New Year’s Six Viewership Now up 47%
Now, halfway through the New Year’s Six, ESPN is averaging 10,436,000 viewers a game, up 47% from the inaugural year of the New Year’s Six – the only other year of the system in which the CFP Semifinals were not played within those first three games. In addition to the massive audiences for both the Orange and Fiesta Bowl, the Cotton Bowl delivered a similar impressive audience of 9,468,000 viewers for Ohio State’s lop-sided victory over USC (Dec. 29, 8:30 p.m.)

ESPN’s Coverage of the New Year’s Six Continues New Year’s Day with Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl and CFP Semifinals
ESPN’s coverage of the New Year’s Six continues on New Year’s Day with the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl between No. 7 Auburn and No. 12 UCF (12:30 p.m.), as well as both College Football Playoff Semifinals: The Rose Bowl Game Presented by Northwestern Mutual between No. 2 Oklahoma and No. 3 Georgia (5 p.m.) and the Allstate Sugar Bowl featuring No. 1 Clemson vs. No. 4 Alabama (8:45 p.m.). All New Year’s Six games are on televised on ESPN and ESPN Deportes and broadcast on ESPN Radio.ESPN will cover the CFP Semifinals with the MegaCast production, with complete details here.

New Year’s Day will also feature the Outback Bowl between Michigan and South Carolina (noon, ESPN2) and the Citrus Bowl Presented by Overton’s featuring No. 14 Notre Dame vs. No. 17 LSU (1 p.m., ABC).

Please note: Nielsen reported numbers for all ESPN telecasts reflect TV viewing + Streaming audiences on OTT devices (such as Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, gaming consoles and smart TVs). This new system has been used since Sept. 26.

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