The Sugar Bowl did not outdraw the best NFL playoff game, but I was surprised to see just how well it did. Its Nielsen rating was 14.8 with a 23.0 share, just behind the Dallas/Carolina game with a 15.4 rating and 25.0 share. The Sugar Bowl is down from last year’s Fiesta Bowl 17.2, and NFL was down from last year’s 16.0 for Atlanta/Green Bay. I have no idea how much of the drop can be attributed to competition from the NFL and how much to diluted interest because of the split national championship with USC.
If anyone knows how much the networks paid for the opening NFL playoff round, then we’ll have an idea just how much money a Division 1 playoff could pay out.