Auburn's BCS nail-biter over Oregon on ESPN was cable's most-watched program ever
Monday's Tostitos Bowl Championship Series (BCS) on ESPN averaged 27.3 million total viewers, according to the Nielsen Co., the highest total ever for a cable TV program dating back to at least 2001. In fact, the game blew away the previous record, also held by ESPN for a Monday Night Football matchup between Green Bay and Minnesota last year (21.8 million).
How did it happen? Well, Monday's event was quite a game between Auburn and Oregon, with the Auburn pulling out a last-second 22-19 victory.
The numbers will bring a sigh of relief to ESPN executive suites, which aired the entire BCS lineup for the first time and earlier saw some lower-than-broadcast ratings for events such as the Rose Bowl.
"ESPN's inaugural telecasts of the BCS culminated with a thrilling finish viewed by a record audience," ESPN president George Bodenheimer said in a statement.
— Scott Collins (Twitter: @scottcollinsLAT)
Photo: Auburn quarterback Cam Newton in the BCS championship game. Credit: Matt Sullivan/Reuters.