Sugar Bowl Spikes 61% From Last Year to 16.3 Million Viewers

Most-viewed since 2004; ESPN's three-game BCS average up 23% over 2013

ESPN continues to see ratings gains in the final year of the BCS college football system.

Thursday's Sugar Bowl, which saw Oklahoma upset Alabama 45-31, spiked 61% from last year to 16.3 million viewers, according to Nielsen fast nationals. The game was the most-viewed Sugar Bowl since 2004.

Oklahoma's victory also rose 50% from last year to a 9.3 household rating.

Through its first three BCS bowl games, ESPN is trending 23% higher than 2013 with an average of 15.4 million viewers. Coverage continues with the Orange Bowl Friday night.