Bowl Games Power College Football Ad Impressions Surge: TV By the Numbers

Sherrod Covil Jr. #12 of the Clemson Tigers tackles Squirrel White #10 of the Tennessee Volunteers during the second half in the Capital One Orange Bowl at Hard Rock Stadium on December 30, 2022 in Miami Gardens, Florida.
(Image credit: Megan Briggs/Getty Images)

Below is a snapshot of TV by the numbers for December 26-January 1, highlighting network and show TV ad impressions insights via iSpot.tv (opens in new tab).

Top Shows and Networks by TV Ad Impressions

Via iSpot.tv, the real-time TV measurement company. Rankings are by share of TV ad impressions, for new episodes only.

College football’s biggest bowl games helped the sport deliver the largest share of TV ad impressions from December 26-January 1. Major contests like the Orange Bowl and Sugar Bowl, and thrilling College Football Playoff semifinal matchups in the Fiesta Bowl and Peach Bowl, totaled 20.64% of TV ad impressions — up from 2.04% the previous week.

More insights about the top programs by share of TV ad impressions:

  • This was the biggest week for college football all season by TV ad impressions. iSpot’s 2022 report (opens in new tab) also revealed college football was the No. 2 program on TV for the year, with 3.11%  impressions.
  • The NFL vacated the top spot in our ranking for the first time since the regular season kicked off, but the sport was still No. 1 for the year, with 6.55% of TV ad impressions.
  • Even up against the Peach Bowl’s exciting finish, New Year’s Eve specials were still among the week’s top programs, with New Year’s Eve Live: Nashville’s Big Bash and Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve With Ryan Seacrest both making the cut.
  • CNN Newsroom gets a week-over-week lift from No. 16 to No. 11 by share of TV ad impressions, in part due to 14% more ad airings.
  • NBC’s The Wheel game show (a spinoff of the British show of the same name) climbs from No. 33 to No. 19 week-over-week in our ranking.
  • Holiday breaks and big games helped fuel week-over-week growth for SportsCenter, up from No. 9 to No. 4 by TV ad impressions — a fitting close to the year after the program also increased impressions by 38% vs. 2021.

Top shows by TV ad impressions December 19-January 1.

ESPN reaped the benefits of college football’s bowl blitz, as the network soars to No. 1 in our TV-ad-impressions-by-network ranking, with 17.35%. That’s a significant week-over-week increase versus 7.24% from December 19-25, when ESPN was No. 6 by TV ad impressions.

Additional notes on the top networks by share of TV ad impressions from December 26-January 1:

  • CBS leaned on late-season NFL action to score nearly 15% of the week’s TV ad impressions; the NFL is also a big part of the network’s No. 1 ranking by share of TV ad impressions in 2022 (at 14.55%).
  • Interest in football boosted cable networks, much as it did throughout 2022, with ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPNEWS and SEC Network all appearing among the top 25 networks by TV ad impressions from December 26-January 1.
  • Continued winter storms around the country fueled another week of The Weather Channel in our ranking, at No. 25 (down from No. 18 the previous week in the lead-up to holiday travel).
  • The Wheel and Sunday Night Football pace a week-over-week increase for NBC, from 9.78% to 10.74% of TV ad impressions; the network accounted for 11.83% of TV ad impressions in 2022 (No. 3 overall).

Top networks by TV ad impressions December 19-January 1.

John Cassillo is an analyst and contributor with TV[R]EV.