UPDATED, 1:55 PM: Monday’s Rose Bowl game, which saw USC clinch a last-second 52-49 victory over Penn State, drew more than 16 million viewers, making it the most-watched non-semifinal New Year’s Six game ever. Viewership was up 17% from last year’s Rose Bowl game between Stanford and Iowa, which was played on the traditional January 1 date. The telecast peaked at 19,656,000 viewers in the final minutes of the fourth quarter, which included USC’s game-winning field goal (9-9:29 PM ET). Locally, Philadelphia (16.7) set a market record for the game, while in Pittsburgh (17.0) and Los Angeles (14.9) it was the second highest-rated bowl game ever on ESPN.
PREVIOUS, 10:30 AM: Plenty of people spent part of their holiday Monday watching the season’s wildest bowl game. ESPN said today that its coverage of the Rose Bowl from Pasadena — which saw USC erase a two-touchdown fourth-quarter deficit to edge Penn State, 52-49, on a last-second field goal — was up double digits from the 2016 game.
The Granddaddy of Them All drew a 9.4 overnight rating for the Worldwide Leader, up 19% over last year’s game, in which Stanford clobbered Iowa and was played on the traditional New Year’s Day. Monday’s game peaked at a 12.4 overnight during the final two minutes of the fourth quarter, which included No. 9 USC’s game-tying TD and winning field goal (9:15-9:30 PM ET).
It was the first Rose Bowl for the No. 5-ranked Nittany Lions since the Jerry Sandusky scandal broke broke at Penn State, and the Philadelphia market set an ESPN bowl-game record with a 16.7 overnight rating. It was both teams’ first trip to the Rose Bowl since 2009, when the Trojans beat Penn State, 38-24. Los Angeles posted a 14.9 overnight, and Pittsburgh a 17.0 overnight, the second-highest local market rating for a bowl game on ESPN for both cities.