The Gophers’ victory over Central Michigan in the Quick Lane Bowl was far less of a TV attraction than Minnesota’s previous three bowl games.
According to a person with access to the local TV numbers, the game drew an 8.0 rating in the Minneapolis-St. Paul market, which equates to 138,700 households.
The national audience on ESPN2 totaled 1,486,000 viewers, which was down 48 percent from the 2.9 million viewers who watched last year’s Quick Lane Bowl between Rutgers and North Carolina, according to Sports Media Watch. That site noted:
This year’s [Quick Lane Bowl] aired on ESPN2 to accommodate ESPN’s Monday Night Football. The last time ESPN2 aired a bowl game outside of New Year’s Day was 2012, when the Fight Hunger Bowl (now the Foster Farms Bowl) had 1.1 million.
The Quick Lane Bowl was still not the least watched bowl this year, as the Poinsettia (1.4 million), New Orleans (1.4 million), Miami Beach (1.2 million) and Potato (1.1 million) each drew smaller national TV audiences, according to Sports Media Watch.
Not surprisingly, the Gophers’ TV numbers are down sharply from last season’s Citrus Bowl loss to Missouri. That game drew a 17.4 rating locally, which equates to 739,900 households, and there were 6.2 million watching that game nationally on ABC, according to Sports Media Watch.
The time slot and channel can affect ratings, too. Here is a look at the TV ratings for the past four Gophers’ bowl games, with the national viewership numbers courtesy of Sports Media Watch:
2012 Meineke Car Care Bowl
Final score: Texas Tech 34, Gophers 31
Friday, Dec. 28 at 8 p.m., on ESPN
National TV viewership: 4.6 million
Minneapolis-St. Paul TV rating: 6.5
Minneapolis-St. Paul TV households: 275,700
2013 Texas Bowl
Final score: Syracuse 21, Gophers 17
Friday, Dec. 27 at 6 p.m., on ESPN
National TV viewership: 3.99 million
Minneapolis-St. Paul TV rating: 7.3
Minneapolis-St. Paul TV households: 312,200
2015 Citrus Bowl
Final score: Missouri 33, Gophers 17
Thursday, Jan. 1 at 12 p.m., on ABC
National TV viewership: 6.12 million
Minneapolis-St. Paul TV rating: 17.4
Minneapolis-St. Paul TV households: 739,900
2015 Quick Lane Bowl
Final score: Gophers 21, Central Michigan 17
Monday, Dec. 28 at 4 p.m., on ESPN2
National TV viewership: 1.486 million
Minneapolis-St. Paul TV rating: 8.0
Minneapolis-St. Paul TV households: 138,700