New Year’s Six has topped itself this year as it continues to set new bowl records. The Capital One Orange Bowl and PlayStation Fiesta Bowl 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 Orange Bowl matchup between Wisconsin and Miami garnered more than 11.7 million viewers which is a 2% increase from last season’s game between Florida State and Michigan and a 31% increase from tear one of the New Year’s Six era.
As for the Fiesta Bowl, over 10.1 million viewers tuned in to watch Washington take on Penn State which is up 4% from the 2015 season. This surpasses New Year’s Day Fiesta Bowl between Ohio State and Notre Dame and an impressive increase of 37% since the start of the New Year’s Six.
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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. The Cotton Bowl delivered an impressive audience of 9,468,000 viewers who saw Ohio State defeat USC.
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. Last year’s Jan. 2 game between USC and Penn State still comes it at number one as the most watched non-CFP semifinal game of the New Year’s Six era.
Halfway through the New Year’s Six, ESPN averages 10.4 million viewers per game, which is a 47% increase 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.
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