BCS draws record cable rating

BRISTOL, Conn. -- The Tostitos BCS National Championship Game between Auburn and Oregon attracted the top overnight metered cable television rating ever.

The game drew a 16.1 overnight rating in its first year on ESPN. That's 12 percent less than the 18.2 rating Fox drew last year. ESPN is available in 15 percent fewer homes.

It is higher than the 14.4 rating ESPN drew for a Monday Night Football game last year between New England and New Orleans. That was the previous high. It is also higher than the 2008 and 2005 BCS title games.

The game drew a 67.0 rating in Birmingham, Ala., and a 37.5 in Portland, Ore. -- the home markets of the two teams. It also did well in Nashville (28.8), New Orleans (28.6) and Knoxville (27.7).

The game also drew 619.000 unique viewers on ESPN3.com -- the highest viewed college football game on the broadband service. It's fourth all-time behind three FIFA World Cup broadcasts.

Ratings represent the percentage of all homes with televisions tuned into a program. Overnight ratings measure the country's largest markets.

Information from The Associated Press is included in this report.