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Auburn’s BCS Victory Is Cable Television’s Most-Watched Program

Nick Fairley #90 of the Auburn Tigers
Nick Fairley #90 of the Auburn Tigers celebrates the Tigers 22-19 victory against the Oregon Ducks during the Tostitos BCS National Championship Game at University of Phoenix Stadium. Photographer: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Auburn University’s college football championship win over the University of Oregon was the most-watched cable television program of all time.

The rating still was down 14 percent from last year’s championship game on broadcast TV.

The Tigers’ 22-19 victory last night in the Bowl Championship Series title game on ESPN was seen in 17.8 percent of U.S. homes, the Walt Disney Co. network said, citing preliminary national data collected by Nielsen Media Research. The previous record, an Oct. 5, 2009, National Football League game between the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings featuring Brett Favre against his former team, received a 15.3 fast-national rating.

Yesterday’s game, which was won on a 19-yard last-second field-goal by Wes Byrum, was seen by 27.3 million viewers, compared with 21.8 million for the previous high.

Alabama’s BCS title-game win over Texas last year, which was aired on Disney’s ABC, did an 18.2 rating, 14 percent higher than its cable partner’s performance, the network said. ABC is available in 115.9 million homes, about 16 million more than ESPN.

The highest-rated bowl game during the BCS era that began in 1998 was the 2006 Rose Bowl between Texas and USC, which earned a 21.7 national rating on ABC.

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