Appalachian State University football’s heart-stopping 31-29 win over Ohio in last Saturday’s Raycom Media Camellia Bowl was a hit for ESPN. According to sportsmediawatch.com, the ESPN telecast of the second-annual Raycom Media Camellia Bowl drew 1.9 million viewers nationwide.
The viewership was the largest of three bowl games on cable television on Saturday and second-highest of six bowl games on ESPN through Tuesday (the Boca Raton Bowl between Temple and Toledo drew 2.0M viewers in primetime on Tuesday night).
Additionally, Camellia Bowl viewership was 73 percent higher than last year’s inaugural matchup between Bowling Green and South Alabama and 28 percent higher than the bowl game played in the same time slot in 2014 (the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl between Air Force and Western Michigan).
Making the Raycom Media Camellia Bowl’s huge increase in viewership even more impressive is the fact that of the six bowl games aired by ESPN through Tuesday, the Camellia Bowl was the only one that didn’t have a decline in viewership from last year. While Camellia Bowl viewership was up 73 percent, the New Mexico Bowl (1.8M viewers, down 4% from 2014), New Orleans Bowl (1.5M, -37%), Miami Beach Bowl (1.2M, -13%), Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (1.1M, -26%) and Boca Raton Bowl (2.0M, -13%) all had fewer viewers than in 2014.