The weekend TV ratings are in, and the Celebration Bowl beat the FCS playoffs once again.
Saturday’s Celebration Bowl between Jackson State and North Carolina Central pulled in a rating of 1.42 and drew an average viewership of 2.42 million on ABC, according to Showbuzz Daily. NC Central defeated Jackson State 41-34 in an overtime thriller.
That number was just below the bowl game between Florida and Oregon State — two Power Five programs — and shown on ESPN. The Celebration Bowl also outranked the other two ABC bowl games — the Jimmy Kimmel LA Bowl between Washington State and Fresno State along with the New Mexico Bowl featuring BYU and SMU.
When it comes to the Celebration Bowl and the FCS playoffs, it is clear the winner isn’t the playoffs. Incarnate Word and North Dakota State drew a .62 rating with just over 1 million average viewers while South Dakota State’s matchup with Montana State drew a .36 rating and had just under six thousand average viewers.
For comparison, the 2021 Celebration Bowl received a 1.61 rating and had 2.59 million viewers, the most in the game’s history. The 2019 Celebration Bowl received a 1.23 rating with 1.8 million viewers as North Carolina A&T and Alcorn State got into a shootout. The 2018 game between North Carolina A&T and Alcorn State held a 1.61 rating but had a smaller viewership number with 2.35 million viewers.
The 2017 game between North Carolina A&T and Grambling had a 1.59 rating with 2.36 million viewers. The 2016 Celebration Bowl between Grambling State and North Carolina Central had a rating of 1.83 with 2.71 million viewers — the most in the game’s history. The inaugural game between North Carolina A&T and Alcorn State remains the high mark in terms of ratings with 1.89 as 2.5 million people watched the inaugural game.