By all accounts, last night’s Alabama-Clemson College Football Playoff championship game was one of the greatest title games ever, and was talked about in the same breath as the Texas-USC classic a decade ago.
Somebody, though, forgot to tell that to the television ratings. And the viewing audience.
Last night’s rematch drew an overnight rating of 15.3. That’s down four percent from the 15.8 Alabama-Clemson I drew last year. Both of those games are down significantly from the 18.5 Ohio State-Oregon drew in 2015, the debut of the College Football Playoff following the 2014 season.
CFP Championship overnight ratings on ESPN:
2017: Clemson/Alabama: (15.3 combined)
2016: Alabama/Clemson: 15.8
2015. Ohio St/Oregon: 18.5
— Sports TV Ratings (@SportsTVRatings) January 10, 2017
After consulting translation experts for ESPN press release, Clemson-Bama drew 15.3 overnight rating across ESPN/ESPN2/ESPNU, -4% from 2016
— Austin Karp (@AustinKarp) January 10, 2017
The dip in ratings is certainly a concern, especially as the game itself was not only an instant classic but also involved what were universally considered the two best teams in the sport. And especially after the ratings for the semifinals ticked up from the 2015 numbers after a precipitous drop from 2014.
Suffice to say, ratings, and what if anything can be done to give them a boost, will give the powers that be much to chew on in the coming months.