Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban leads players onto the field before the 2021 College Football Playoff Semifinal game at the 86th Cotton Bowl in AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas Friday, Dec. 31, 2021. Alabama defeated Cincinnati 27-6 to advance to the national championship game. [Staff Photo/Gary Cosby Jr.]

College Football Playoffs Alabama Vs Cincinnati

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ESPN sees lowest CFP ratings ever

Two lopsided semifinals games on New Year’s Eve led to the lowest ratings ESPN has seen during the College Football Playoff era.

ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU averaged 16.9 million viewers for Alabama’s 27-6 win over Cincinnati and Georgia’s 34-11 rout over Michigan on Friday, per the Sports Business Journal. That’s below the previous low of 17 million in 2016 — the most recent time the semifinals were staged on New Year’s Eve.

Friday’s television viewership was down 11 percent from last year’s semifinal, when Alabama beat Notre Dame and Ohio State routed Clemson on New Year’s Day.

Georgia’s blowout of Michigan averaged 17.2 million viewers in the 7:45 ET window, the fewest among second games in a semifinal doubleheader in the CFP era. By contrast, Ohio State-Clemson averaged 19.1 million last season.

The Georgia-Michigan game was still the most-watched program on Friday night, easily besting the 8.8 million viewers that tuned into “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest” on ABC.

Meanwhile, Alabama’s win over Cincinnati averaged 16.6 million, making it the least-watched semifinal game since Clemson-Oklahoma averaged 15.7 million on New Year’s Eve in 2016.

–Field Level Media

Field Level Media
Sport Writer & Editor
FLM has a North American focus while tying into regional and hyper-local resources – providing the ability to distribute compelling content through the writing of professional journalists. As the U.S. sports content provider to dozens of digital and print media publishers through strategic partnerships with the likes of Reuters and Nielsen Sports, FLM covers the nuts and bolts with a breaking news desk and game event coverage.


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