ABC’s Rose Bowl Ratings in Bloom

In what may well be the final Rose Bowl to air on broadcast television, ABC’s coverage of the Jan. 1 Ohio State-Oregon clash put up some sweet-smelling numbers.

The #8 Buckeyes’ 26-17 victory over the #7 Ducks drew a 13.8 overnight rating on ABC Friday evening, up 10 percent from a 12.6 for last year’s USC-Penn St. battle, and up 15 percent from a 12.0 for the USC-Illinois tilt in 2008.

Per Nielsen overnights, ABC’s New Year’s Day audience peaked at 8 p.m., as the Grandaddy of Them All delivered a 5.8 share/16 rating and just shy of 20 million viewers.   

The overnight is the highest for a Rose Bowl since USC and Michigan drew a 14.5 on Jan. 1, 2007.

The New Year’s Day classic will be the last to air on ABC for the foreseeable future. Beginning January 2011, the Rose Bowl moves to ABC sibling ESPN, joining the Tostitos Fiesta, FedEx Orange and Allstate Sugar Bowls, as well as the BCS National Championship game. ESPN’s contract with the five majors runs through 2014.