Fresno State wanted an invitation to play in the Las Vegas Bowl after winning a share of the Mountain West Conference title, along with Boise State and San Diego State.
But bowl executives and ESPN Regional Television, which owns and operates the game, obviously knew what they were doing in selecting the Broncos to play Washington from the Pac-12 – and not just because the Bulldogs fell flat getting blown out by a 6-6 Southern Methodist team in the Hawaii Bowl.
The Broncos and Huskies filled the stadium – attendance was 33,217, the eighth year in a row the game has drawn more than 32,000. But more importantly the game had one of its highest television ratings in its history, which is what they were after.
The game had a rating of 3.3, the second highest rated telecast in the past decade and third highest in the history of the Las Vegas Bowl. The 2010 game between Boise State and Utah had a rating of 3.8 and the 2001 game between USC and Utah on Christmas Day had a rating of 4.7.
“We had a top match up that came down to the wire with the always-exciting backdrop of Las Vegas,” said Dan Hanneke, executive director of the bowl game, in a press release. “That’s a combination that’s going to get you great ratings. We’re very proud of the event put on by our city, not just on game day but all week long.”