Minnesota and Washington State attracted 4,046,000 viewers for the Holiday Bowl showdown in San Diego.
The Gophers’ 17-12 victory over the Cougars was the most-watched cable program Dec. 27, outperforming Baylor and Boise State in the Cactus Bowl (2.28 million), according to sportstvratings.com. Ratings were not immediately available.
The 4 million-plus viewers on ESPN were a significant improvement from the 1.5 million that watched the Gophers beat Central Michigan in the 2015 Quick Lane Bowl on ESPN2.
The 2016 Holiday Bowl well underperformed the number of viewers that watched the Gophers in the 2015 Citrus Bowl on New Year’s Day. Six million viewers watched Missouri beat the Gophers 33-17 on ABC. However, this was the second-lowest rating for a Citrus Bowl since 2001.
The 2016 Holiday Bowl viewership was also down from the 4.2 million that watched Wisconsin beat Southern California 23-21 in 2015. In 2014, a nine-year high of 6.8 million watched USC beat Nebraska 45-42.
The College Football Playoff semifinals on Saturday drew a total of 39.3 million viewers. Alabama’s 24-7 win over Washington in the Peach Bowl attracted 19.7 million viewers on ESPN. Clemson’s 31-0 victory over Ohio State drew 19.6 million viewers.
The games drew bigger numbers than last season’s CFP semifinals (34.1 million), but fewer than the 56.6 million that watched the games two years ago on New Year’s Day. They were the two most-watched broadcasts in cable TV history.