Tennessee’s postseason matchup against Nebraska in the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl wasn’t what many Vol fans were hoping for earlier in the year, but the attendance numbers and TV ratings prove that there was still a decent amount of interest in watching UT’s 38-24 win over the Cornhuskers.
The Nashville-based bowl secured a 3.1 US HH rating on ESPN, meaning that an average of just over five million viewers were watching. In addition, the bowl also “saw double digit streaming growth on WatchESPN compared to 2015, with an average minute audience of 125K viewers (+63% vs last year’s game) and 418K total unique viewers (+14% vs last year’s game),” according to a press release put out by the bowl on Thursday.
According to figures from Sports Media Watch, the Music City Bowl had more viewers than all but two bowls game that weren’t associated with the New Year’s Six. The Citrus Bowl (LSU vs. Louisville) and the Outback Bowl (Florida vs. Iowa) were the two with higher ratings.
With 68,496 fans in attendance, the Music City Bowl was the fourth-most attended bowl of the year, and the highest among the non-New Year’s Six bowls.
It certainly helped to have two tradition-rich programs with passionate fanbases squaring off, and UT’s proximity to Nashville was a big driving factor in attendance as well. But the TV ratings and the attendance figures, especially compared to other bowls, showed that there was plenty of interest in this game.