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[01/09/18 - 07:41 AM]
Epic College Football Playoff National Championship Delivers Massive 16.7 Overnight, Up 9% Year-Over-Year
ESPN spins the numbers for Monday, January 8.

[via press release from ESPN]

Epic College Football Playoff National Championship Delivers Massive 16.7 Overnight, Up 9% Year-Over-Year

· Three-Game College Football Playoff Drives Ratings: Up 18% Year-Over-Year

· Record-Setting: Best New Year's Six + CFP National Championship Ever

· CFP National Championship Game:

· Birmingham Leads the Way: 57.6 Local Rating, Up from Last Year's CFP National Championship

· Atlanta Sets New High: 47.8 Rating, Highest for an ESPN College Football Game in the Market

ESPN's presentation of the epic College Football Playoff National Championship between Georgia and Alabama (Jan. 8 at 8 p.m.) delivered a massive 16.7 overnight on its Nielsen-rated networks (ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU) as part of its MegaCast production, up 9% from last season's thrilling College Football Playoff National Championship on the same three Nielsen-rated networks. The ESPN-only presentation delivered a monster 16.0 overnight for the Crimson Tide's overtime victory, up 8% from the ESPN-only presentation last season, a game which featured a dramatic, last minute touchdown to win the game.

This season's College Football Playoff National Championship, the first ever to go to overtime, was also up 5% from ESPN's MegaCast presentation (ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU) of the second CFP National Championship (January 11, 2016).

College Football Playoff National Championships Provide ESPN with its Highest-Ratings on Record

Combined with the inaugural season, the College Football Playoff National Championship now represent the two-highest rated events on record for ESPN's networks.

Among all college football bowl games, the College Football Playoff era has provided ESPN with three of its top 5 highest-rated games and seven of the top 10:

Rank Rating Date Matchup Network Game
1 18.8 Jan 12, 2015 Ohio State vs. Oregon ESPN CFP National Championship
2 16.7 Jan. 8, 2018 Georgia vs. Alabama ESPN CFP National Championship
3 16.1 Jan 10, 2011 Auburn vs. Oregon ESPN BCS National Championship
4 16.0 Jan 11, 2016 Alabama vs. Clemson ESPN CFP National Championship
5 15.7 Jan 7, 2013 Notre Dame vs. Alabama ESPN BCS National Championship
6 15.5 Jan 1, 2015 Florida State vs. Oregon ESPN CFP Semifinal
7. 15.3 Jan 1, 2015 Ohio State vs. Alabama ESPN CFP Semifinal
15.3 Jan 9, 2017 Clemson vs. Alabama ESPN CFP National Championship
15.3 Jan 6, 2014 Florida State vs. Auburn ESPN BCS National Championship
10 14.8 Jan 1, 2018 Oklahoma vs. Georgia ESPN CFP Semifinal

Please note: All Nielsen-rated MegaCast feeds reflected where appropriate

Additional Georgia-Alabama College Football Playoff National Championship Highlights

· Birmingham Leads the Way, Atlanta Sets New Record: With an impressive 57.6 local rating, Birmingham was the No. 1 rated local market, up from last season's national championship. Atlanta earned its highest rating ever for a college football game on ESPN, earning a 47.8 rating. The complete top 15:

Rank Local Overnight Market
1 57.6 Birmingham
2 47.8 Atlanta
3 31.9 Greenville
4 29.0 Jacksonville
5 28.3 Nashville
6 28.0 Knoxville
7 27.5 New Orleans
8 23.5 Austin
9 23.2 Columbus
10 22.8 Memphis
11 22.0 Tampa
12 21.4 Fort Myers
13 20.8 Norfolk
14 20.6 Louisville
15 19.8 Richmond

All local markets are ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU Combined

· Overtime Rating Soars: The game earned a 17.1 overnight as the Bulldogs-Crimson Tide played overtime (midnight - 12:15 a.m.). The peak audience was an 18.4, which occurred late in the first half (9:45 p.m. - 10 p.m. ET)

Three-Game College Football Playoff Up 18% from Last Season

ESPN's entire presentation of the three game College Football Playoff averaged an 14.9 overnight, up an impressive 18% from last year's three-game presentation. In addition to the championship game, each of the two CFP Semifinals were also up year-over-year individually as well, as documented last week.

ESPN Delivers Highest-Rated New Year's Six + CFP National Championship in Current Era

Factoring in the entire New Year's Six, the seven games (New Year's Six + CFP National Championship) averaged an 9.8 overnight, the best ever in the four years of the new system. The seven-game average was up 5% from last year's same seven games.

ESPN Concludes College Football Post Season Up 10%

ESPN's industry leading postseason schedule, consisting of 35 games plus the CFP National Championship, averaged a 3.4 overnight, up 10% from last year's similar slate.

ESPN's MegaCast Presentation offered the 20 different productions for the game; however, only Nielsen rated networks (ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU) are represented in the overnight for all years. ESPNEWS, ESPN Classic, and SEC Network are not rated and thus not accounted for in this release. Additionally, ESPN3 streaming numbers are also not accounted for here.

Streaming Clarification: Nielsen reported numbers for all ESPN and ESPN2 telecast reflect TV viewing + Streaming audiences on OTT devices (such as Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, gaming consoles and smart TVs). The above number does not reflect streaming audiences from ESPNU or any ESPN3 presentations. All comparisons are Nielsen reported numbers to Nielsen reported numbers. This new system has been used since Sept. 26.

Georgia-Alabama College Football Playoff National Championship: More than 28.4 Million Viewers, Second Most-Watched Cable Presentation Ever and Up 13% Year-Over-Year

· Game Peaks at More than 30.7 Million Viewers

· 2017-18 College Football Playoff: Three-Game Average More than 26.2 Million, Up 21%

· College Football Playoff Era: Cable's Four Most-Watched Telecasts Ever, Seven of Top 10

ESPN's presentation of College Football Playoff National Championship between Georgia and Alabama (8 p.m. ET, Jan 8) averaged 28,443,000 viewers on its Nielsen-rated networks (ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU as part of its MegaCast production), up 13% from last season's down-to-the-wire College Football Playoff National Championship on the same three Nielsen-rated networks. This season's College Football Playoff National Championship, the first ever to go to overtime, was also up 9% from ESPN's MegaCast presentation (ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU) of the second CFP National Championship (January 11, 2016). For Georgia-Alabama, the ESPN-only telecast averaged 27,383,000 million viewers.

Georgia-Alabama Viewership is Second Best in Cable History; College Football Playoff Era Now Owns Cable's Most-Watched Telecasts

The massive audience for Alabama's come-from-behind, last play victory is the second biggest for any cable presentation in history. Now, the College Football Playoff Era has delivered ESPN the four biggest audiences in cable history and seven of the top 10.

"The record-breaking audiences, over the course of multiple years, clearly reinforce how the College Football Playoff has quickly established itself as an elite event on the sports calendar," said Burke Magnus, ESPN executive vice president, programming and scheduling. "Last night's thrilling finish coupled with ESPN's innovative MegaCast presentation showcased the incredible strength of college football and the deep connection live sports have with fans."

ESPN Dominates Cable's Most-Watched Telecast List

Overall, ESPN has now televised all 10 of the most-watched cable telecasts and 18 of the top 20.

Rank Viewership Date Matchup Network(s)

1 33,917,000 1/12/2015 CFP National Championship (Oregon/Ohio State) ESPN*

2 28,443,000 1/8/2018 CFP National Championship (Georgia vs. Alabama) ESPN*

3 28,271,000 1/1/2015 CFP Semifinal Sugar Bowl (Ohio State vs. Alabama) ESPN

4 28,164,000 1/1/2015 CFP Semifinal Rose Bowl (Florida State vs. Oregon) ESPN

5 27,316,000 1/10/2011 BCS National Championship (Oregon vs. Auburn) ESPN

6 26,826,000 1/1/2018 CFP Semifinal Rose Bowl (Georgia vs. Oklahoma) ESPN*

7 26,380,000 1/7/2013 BCS National Championship (Notre Dame vs. Alabama) ESPN

8 26,125,000 1/11/2016 CFP National Championship (Alabama vs. Clemson) ESPN*

9 26,061,000 1/6/2014 BCS National Championship (Florida State vs. Auburn) ESPN

10 24,214,000 1/9/2012 BCS National Championship (LSU vs. Alabama) ESPN

*Denotes MegaCast presentation

List excludes sustaining broadcasts

Additional Georgia-Alabama CFP National Championship Highlights:

· Audience Peaks at More than 30 Million: The audience peaked at 30,759,000 viewers late in the first half (9:30 - 10 p.m.) and more than 28.4 million viewers were watching as Alabama scored its game-winning, national championship-winning touchdown

· Alabama, Georgia Fans Watch in Droves: Birmingham was the No. 1 rated market, with an astounding 57.6 overnight. Atlanta also had a record-breaking audience. All market information was distributed this morning and can be found here.

Three-Game College Football Playoff Up 21% from Last Season

ESPN's entire presentation of the three game College Football Playoff averaged an 26,266,000 viewers, up an impressive 21% from last year's three-game presentation. In addition to the championship game, each of the two CFP Semifinals were also up year-over-year individually as well, as documented last week.

This Season's New Year's Six + CFP National Championship to Become Most-Watched in Current Era

Factoring in the entire New Year's Six, the seven games (New Year's Six + CFP National Championship) averaged over 17 million viewers, which will be the best ever in the four years of the new system when final numbers are in. The seven-game average was up 10% from last year's same seven games and 25% from the 2015 season's slate.

ESPN Concludes College Football Post Season Up 11%

ESPN's industry-leading postseason schedule, consisting of 35 games plus the CFP National Championship, averaged 5,682,000 viewers, up 11% from last year's similar slate.

ESPN's MegaCast Presentation offered the 20 different productions for the game; however, only Nielsen rated networks (ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU) are represented in the overnight for all years. ESPNEWS, ESPN Classic, and SEC Network are not rated and thus not accounted for in this release. Additionally, ESPN3 streaming numbers are also not accounted for here.

Streaming Clarification: Nielsen reported numbers for all ESPN and ESPN2 telecast reflect TV viewing + Streaming audiences on OTT devices (such as Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, gaming consoles and smart TVs). The above number does not reflect streaming audiences from ESPNU or any ESPN3 presentations. All comparisons are Nielsen reported numbers to Nielsen reported numbers. This new system has been used since Sept. 26.





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