The largest TV audience to watch a University of Hawaii football game in 11 years saw the Rainbow Warriors rally past Brigham Young in the SoFi Hawaii Bowl Tuesday.
According to just-released Nielsen numbers, 2.43 million viewers watched UH’s 38-34 victory over the Cougars on ESPN Christmas Eve.
“I think that (audience) was a reflection of the matchup and a reflection of the exciting game,” said Pete Derzis, ESPN senior vice president, college sports programming and events. “People really stayed with us because it was a really exciting college football game.”
UH scored with 1 minute, 17 seconds remaining and then thwarted a BYU comeback attempt with an interception with 25 seconds remaining.
The viewership doubled UH’s 2018 Hawaii Bowl appearance against Louisiana Tech and was the largest audience for the ‘Bows since the 2008 Hawaii Bowl when 4.2 million tuned in to see Notre Dame’s 49-21 Christmas Eve victory.
The most tuned-into UH game in history was a 41-20 loss to Georgia in the 2008 Sugar Bowl which drew 11.7 million viewers.
“We’re very pleased with the SoFi Hawaii Bowl numbers and the audience that stayed with us,” Derzis said. “Even if you didn’t have a dog in the hunt, you were pretty much glued to this one.”