Jon Solomon | [email protected]
The Sugar Bowl’s announced crowd of 54,178 for Florida-Louisville was the game’s worst since 1939 and the smallest ever for a BCS bowl. Through 30 of 35 bowl games, the average announced bowl attendance is 46,278, down 5 percent from 2011-12 and 8 percent from 2010-11 through those same games. In a rarity, the Sugar was outdrawn by the Outback, Music City, Holiday and Capital One bowls.
Alabama’s dramatic SEC Championship Game victory over Georgia produced a 9.8 rating with 16.2 million viewers, giving CBS the most-watched college football game this season so far. “It lived up to all of our expectations and delivered once again for everyone — for the SEC and for CBS,” CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus said in an interview today.
Iron Bowl ticket prices in the resale market are down, the byproduct of Auburn’s historically poor season and some Alabama fans waiting to purchase SEC Championship Game and BCS Championship Game seats. Alabama opened as a 34-point favorite for Saturday’s game against Auburn, the biggest spread in recorded betting history in the series. The largest previous spread was 21 points by Alabama last year. “It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out who’s supposed to win,” said Steve Susce, co-owner of AAATix in Hoover. “With Auburn having such a tough year, their fans are intelligent people who value their dollars. Then again, that eases up the prices and people who have never afforded to go to the Iron Bowl maybe can go. We’re selling just as many tickets, but just not at the prices we’re used to.”
Roy Kramer, the founding father of the Bowl Championship Series, watched with enjoyment as college football’s upsets Saturday night shook up the national championship race. He knows the criticisms of the BCS. He knows the four-team playoff is coming in 2014. And he knows millions of Americans watched Oregon-Stanford and Kansas State-Baylor games that they wouldn’t normally care about without the creation of the BCS in 1998. “All the people who thought it was bad for college football enjoyed last night, didn’t they?” said Kramer, a former SEC commissioner. “We thought we could add a little excitement and interest to the college game and I think last night demonstrated it.
he new Champions Bowl between the SEC and Big 12 will be played in New Orleans and adopt the Sugar Bowl as the game’s name. The conferences announced today New Orleans won the rights to the lucrative bowl for 12 years beginning Jan. 1, 2015. For months, the SEC’s strong preference was to stage the game at the Sugar Bowl given the SEC’s long history with the game.