We already knew the Celebration Bowl would break attendance records, but TV ratings are now out for the game as well.
The game saw its third-biggest TV audience ever in terms of television ratings and its second in total viewership as South Carolina State knocked off highly-favored Jackson State 31-10.
According to Showbuzz Daily, the game received a rating of 1.61 and had 2.59 million viewers. Those numbers were third behind the Independence Bowl between UAB and BYU and the Jimmy Kimmel LA Bowl featuring Utah State and Oregon State.
The Celebration Bowl dwarfed the remaining bowl games which took place on Friday and Saturday. Its next closest competitor had a .99 rating and 1.62 million viewers. It more than doubled the viewership of the FCS semifinal between James Madison and North Dakota State and blew the South Dakota State vs. Montana State game out of the water.
SWAC Media Day: Dr. Charles McClelland talks Super Conference, media appeal and more – HBCU Gameday
For comparison, the 2019 Celebration Bowl received a 1.23 rating with 1.8 million viewers as North Carolina A&T and Alcorn State got into a shootout. The 2018 game between North Carolina A&T and Alcorn State held a 1.61 rating but had a smaller viewership number with 2.35 million viewers. The 2017 game between North Carolina A&T and Grambling had a 1.59 rating with 2.36 million viewers. The 2016 Celebration Bowl between Grambling State and North Carolina Central had a rating of 1.83 with 2.71 million viewers — the most in the game’s history. The inaugural game between North Carolina A&T and Alcorn State remains the high mark in terms of ratings with 1.89 as 2.5 million people watched the inaugural game.
The 2021 Celebration Bowl may not have topped the bars set early by the game, but its viewership continues to outshine and outperform many other bowls and its FCS brethren.