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BCS Championship Nabs Cable's Second-Biggest Audience Ever

Game Draws 26.4M Viewers Despite Early Blowout, Up 9% from 2012 Contest 1/08/2013 12:22 PM Eastern

Monday night's BCS National Championship Game between Notre Dame and Alabama averaged 26.4 million total viewers, the second-biggest audience in cable history.

Despite the fact that Alabama raced out to a commanding 28-0 lead by halftime -- the final score was 42-14 -- the only program to draw a larger cable audience was the 2011 BCS Championship matchup in which Auburn beat Oregon in the waning seconds, averaging 27.3 million viewers. The Jan. 7 telecast's 15.1 household rating was also the second-highest in cable history.

Alabama-Notre Dame was up 9% year-over-year, bumping last year's BCS title tilt -- the Crimson Tide shut out Southeastern Conference West rival LSU 21-0 -- down to cable's third-highest audience (24.2 million).

During the season, the two most-watched games featured Alabama and Notre Dame: 16.2 million tuned in to see the SEC title game between Alabama and Georgia on CBS, while Notre Dame's clash with USC drew 16.1 million total viewers on ABC. In fact, eight of the 15 most-watched games featured one of the schools.

ESPN's coverage of the five BCS bowl games averaged 15.1 million total viewers, up 7% from last year.

September