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January 4, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

For the first time since 1947, when it was first televised, the Rose Bowl game was not carried on broadcast television this year, moving instead to cable sports network ESPN, where, according to preliminary Nielsen figures, it attracted 20.6 million viewers. While that number was down from the 24 million who watched the game on ABC last year, it nevertheless represented the third largest audience in the history of cable television, according to the website In reporting the results, the Los Angeles Times spelled out their significance this way: “This year marks an epic shift in the balance between cable and broadcast, because it’s the first time that the Bowl Championship Series has aired entirely on cable.” It noted, however, that the audience for the games is significantly smaller than it was for the broadcasts a year ago. In particular, the audience for ESPN’s Fiesta Bowl coverage was down 22 percent from last year, when the game was televised on Fox.