Both of FCSports’ bowl games had a banner year in 2009-10, with each making its respective mark nationally and locally in attendance and television ratings. This year, both Orlando bowl games showed significant attendance improvements from the year previous.
The Champs Sports Bowl between Miami and Wisconsin hosted 56,747 fans, an increase of nearly 8% over last season’s mark of 52,692. The total set a new attendance record for the game since it arrived in Central Florida in 2001, while also being the second-highest attendance figure (1990 Blockbuster Bowl is tops at 74,021) for the game in its 20-year existence, regardless of location.
Notably, a look at the recent trend shows that of all 34 games on this year’s postseason bowl slate, only the Champs Sports Bowl has improved attendance in each of the last eight years. Further, just one other bowl has even had an attendance increase in each of the last four (Papajohns.com Bowl) and just three others have had attendance improve in as many as the last three consecutive years.
The New Year’s Day Capital One Bowl matchup between Penn State and LSU drew 63,025 fans this year, an improvement of over 3,500 in a year of economic challenges. The big-name matchup also produced a spike in television ratings as the game posted a 6.8 rating, fifth-best of all bowls and again tops among non-BCS games. It marks the third consecutive year the Capital One Bowl bested at least one Bowl Championship Series game in ratings, and it is the only non-BCS game to finish in the Top 5 in ratings in any of those three years, much less three straight.
“Thousands of Central Florida volunteers have worked tirelessly over the years with the goal of building Orlando’s bowl week into the best of college football’s postseason,” said Florida Citrus Sports CEO Steve Hogan. “This year’s television ratings, total attendance and BCS-ranked matchups are an indication they are on the right track.”
Already the industry leader with 2009-10 team compensation totaling over $9 million, the Capital One Bowl maintained its standing as the top non-BCS game in terms of payout and national interest. Its 11.6 million viewers reached continued an impressive historical run in the television ratings department. Since moving to a major network 26 years ago (1984), the bowl has averaged an amazing 7.7 rating.
Much of the success in Orlando games may be attributed to FCSports members and volunteers. Traditionally, FCSports has sought to put the most deserving teams and the best matchup on the field for its games, a fact made clear by this year’s events. Of all 29 non-BCS games in 2009-10, only Orlando’s two bowl games – the Capital One Bowl and Champs Sports Bowl — paired schools ranked in the nation’s Top 25 with records featuring nine wins or more.
Bowl TV Ratings/Viewers – 2009-10 Top 10
1. BCS Title Game (17.2/30.8 million)
2. Rose Bowl (13.2/24.0 million)
3. Allstate Sugar Bowl (8.5/15.5 million)
4. Tostitos Fiesta Bowl (8.2/13.8 million)
5. Capital One Bowl (6.8/11.6 million)
6. FedEx Orange Bowl (6.8/10.9 million)
7. Valero Alamo Bowl (5.6/7.8 million)
8. Emerald Bowl (5.3/7.6 million)
9. Chick-fil-A Bowl (4.9/7.5 million)
10. Meineka Car Care Bowl (4.6/6.1 million)
12. Champs Sports Bowl (4.5/6.2 million)