— MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — The BCS title game's preliminary television rating was up from last season, but the lopsided score kept viewership down.
Alabama's 42-14 rout over Notre Dame drew a 15.7 overnight rating Monday on ESPN, the network said Tuesday. That's up 14 percent from last year's game, another blowout Crimson Tide victory, 21-0 over LSU. But it's down from the 16.1 for ESPN's first BCS championship two years ago, Auburn's win over Oregon that was decided in the final seconds.
The matchup between traditional powerhouses in Alabama and Notre Dame created the potential for a record-setting audience. But once the Crimson Tide went up 28-0 by halftime, viewers had reason to skip the second half.
The first half had an 18.2 overnight rating this year, significantly higher than the 16.6 for Auburn-Oregon. Typically viewership increases throughout a game if it is competitive. But on Monday, the rating peaked between 9 and 9:15 p.m. EST — midway through the first half — and decreased from there as Alabama pulled away.
Overnight ratings measure the country's largest markets. ESPN expected full viewership numbers later Tuesday.