Gotta do something.

You know what this means.

On Monday, Georgia won its first national title since 1980, which was watched by an average of 22.6 million viewers.

The good news for ESPN appears to be that ratings for Georgia’s 33–18 win over Alabama were up from last season’s title game. However, that matchup between Alabama and Ohio State produced the worst ratings of the playoff era with an average of 18.6 million viewers.

Monday’s national championship comes in as the second-lowest viewership of the playoff era, and the second-lowest title game viewership in 16 years.

Save us, expanded playoffs!  You’re our only hope.

College football overlords are telling themselves that (so is ESPN) while conveniently ignoring recent history.

By comparison, the 2018 national championship between Alabama and Georgia drew 28.4 million viewers. Meanwhile, the SEC championship between the two rivals last month hit 17.9 million viewers, making it the highest rated non-bowl game this season, per Sports Media Watch.

The inaugural CFP national championship in 2015 between Oregon and Ohio State still holds the record for the highest viewership of the playoff era with an average of 34.2 million viewers.

Guess what?  Those shiny new toys lose their shine.  Meanwhile, the regional passions that have fueled the sport for decades remain strong.

Naturally, that means the idiots running the sport think the future is in watering down the postseason even further.  I’d put up the “Bold strategy, Cotton, let’s see if it pays off for ’em” gif here, but I think we already know.

96 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs, ESPN Is The Devil

96 responses to “Gotta do something.

  1. NotMyCrossToBear

    Maybe move it to Saturday?

    Liked by 24 people

    • cowetadawg

      Exactly. Move it from Monday. Do the CFP on New Year’s day, not Eve.

      Liked by 5 people

    • gastr1

      They need to move it to New Year’s Day, with the playoff earlier (obviously), and a) quit wasting most of December and b) build on college football momentum–before the last weekend of the NFL season.

      Liked by 3 people

    • Biggen

      The issue is the NFL. They play games on Saturdays after the regular CFB season is over. ESPN/NFL won’t want to schedule a Championship game and a NFL game at the same time slot on a Saturday.

      Maybe the Championship game could be squeezed in somewhere between NFL games, but that seems unlikely.

      As much as we like to make fun of the NFL, they are still a major draw for eyeballs. They average 17 million viewers PER GAME.

      Liked by 3 people

      • W Cobb Dawg

        F#@k the nfl! They added a 17th week of lackluster games. That was the best excuse the cfp will ever get to move the championship game to Saturday evening.

        Can’t say I blame anyone for not watching. If the Dawgs weren’t playing I’d have been in bed as usual at 10.

        Liked by 9 people

        • Biggen

          I don’t like the NFL any more than you do but advertisers are what keeps the lights on. They want max viewers with no competition in their respective timeslots.

          /shrugs

          Like

          • pdawg30577

            Seems like the NFL would gracefully make room for the championship game, seeing as how it wouldn’t exist without its not-only-free-but-lavishly-supported minor league system that is CFB. If they miss out on four hours of ad space, well, I imagine they’d somehow soldier on. The good PR they’d get would be worth way more than whatever they’d make on Week 17 standard spots.

            Liked by 1 person

            • PTC DAWG

              NFL diehards Nationwide do not care about the CFP. It’s a different market for the most part.

              Liked by 4 people

              • Russ

                Exactly this. Yet ESPN is doing their damnedest to combine the two, turning CFB into NFL-Lite.

                In ten years we will have four CFB divisions in the four corners of the US, each with 16-20 teams and a 16 game playoff. NFL Mini-me. And I’ll take up golf or bowling.

                Liked by 4 people

            • miltondawg

              NFL regular season games regularly do an equal or higher TV share than even CFP games. To me it is an odd phenomenon, but (i) outside the south the NFL has a much higher interest than the college game, (ii) there are far more dollars wagered on the NFL annually than college games, and (iii) the amount of interest due solely to fantasy is crazy. The NFL isn’t going to pull a Saturday night game for the CFP championship game out of the goodness of their hearts. If Penn State were in the CFP semifinals and went head to head with an Eagles or Steelers game (or Wisconsin and Packers, or Southern Cal and 49ers, or Colorado or Broncos, etc.), there would be a lot of local TVs on the NFL game and not the CFP game.

              Liked by 1 person

              • kevinsauer

                in the new NFL rights deal, ESPN got the rights to simulcast a double header on the final Saturday of their season. so any notion that ESPN is gonna put CFB on that saturday is hilarous

                Like

            • kevinsauer

              you don’t become the king by giving away charity. this is like asking bezos to donate his money to all the americans who use prime bc w/o us he wouldn’t exist as the richest (or 2nd) person on earth. it’s silly. the NFL doesn’t own CFB anything – or if it does, it isn’t obligated to ‘give back’

              i dont know what cost you’re putting on good PR, but im willing to bet it would not be worth as much as they are making on selling inventory for the most coveted, live-tv programming on earth

              Liked by 1 person

          • Harold Miller

            Then why are they allowing this NYE BS?

            Like

            • Biggen

              I actually thought the CFP games did fine with TV numbers. 22 million for Championship game is really good. Both Cotton and Orange Bowl drew in 16 million viewers which is just under the average of a NFL game. I’m not sure how much you can squeeze out of it. CFB doesn’t draw eyes like the NFL does.

              TV ratings are down everywhere with cord cutting. I don’t know if it’s apples-to-apples if we compare a NC game 10 years ago to one today because of the subscriber losses the cables companies have taken over the years.

              Like

            • kevinsauer

              they HAVE been on NYD before, when they only have to contend with the Rose Bowl which wont move. however, when that happens they push other NYD games to the 2nd, only this past year that’s an NFL sunday.

              so you cant push NYD games to the second, then NYD becomes too crowded to include the CFP and cannabilize games, so they get pulled back to NYE.

              they’ve also been earlier than NYE (18 and 19) and will be again in 24 and 25.. and on NYD in 23.

              Liked by 1 person

        • PTC DAWG

          IF they want even lower ratings, go up against the NFL.

          Liked by 5 people

        • PTC DAWG

          And there you have it, many don’t care.

          I enjoy watching ball, I can’t remember the last time I didn’t see the final games.

          Like

      • kevinsauer

        The NFL is THE draw for Live TV and singlehandedly proping up cable subscriptions. they weild a power unlike any other content and do not have to listen to ESPN (who still dont have a great NFL deal) or anyone..

        https://www.sportico.com/business/media/2022/nfl-games-account-for-75-of-the-100-most-watched-broadcasts-of-2021-1234657845/

        Liked by 2 people

    • RangerRuss

      NotMyCrossToBear. A certified fuckn marketing genius. You’d think those greedy assholes would listen to a solution such as yours…

      Liked by 2 people

  2. D.N. Nation

    If only we had Oregon @ Wake Forest, then TNR playoffs would’ve been a ratings bonanza.

    Liked by 5 people

  3. Not asking any of you with opposing views to agree with what I’m about to say, just saying it as an observed fact:

    I have many friends who have bailed on college football because they’re tired of seeing mostly poor (mostly minority) athletes not get paid and risk grave injury for an ever increasingly commercialized sport. I can’t blame them.

    Have to wonder how many of these people tuning out are part of that camp.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Truth

      Then tell your friends to blame the NFL, not the colleges, for not establishing a true minor league system where those athletes could get paid, rather than exploiting the colleges and passionate college football fans to bear those player development costs.

      Liked by 1 person

    • flawddawg

      Yeah these are not football fans, Spence. This is complete BS, and even if it isn’t, 2 people with this much brain rot aren’t going to affect the ratings.

      Like

    • PTC DAWG

      I know absolutely no one who thinks that way..they see kids getting a free College education..many of those same people still have big student loans they are paying off.

      Liked by 3 people

    • That’s complete BS.

      That’s pearl clutching to the max. You can make the case that college athletes haven’t been compensated according to the market for their talent (of course, the free minor league the colleges provide to the NFL has something to do with that). They have been compensated to the tune of a $70,000+ scholarship to attend a school like Stanford when that individual may not meet the minimum admission standards. NIL is meant to make up some of that.

      I’m sure your friends are totally fine with March Madness.

      I end my rant with this. If guys like Jerry Jones and Arthur Blank could figure out how to make money with minor league football, the NFL would be in that business in a New York minute. The bottom line is that they know minor league football is a money drain (it’s failed every time it’s been tried). The colleges have that market cornered.

      Like

  4. NCAA tournament had a decrease of 14% from 2019 to 2021.

    The way people consume television programming has changed. The way they calculate the ratings has changed. People have different priorities after two years of COVID, etc.

    Since everything is changing so rapidly, it is pointless to compare the estimated viewers from six years ago to now. If anything, it is easier to get a more accurate estimate because ESPN can monitor concurrent streams instead of extrapolating a handful of Nielsen numbers to the total cable subscriber base.

    Liked by 3 people

    • kevinsauer

      nielsen cannot do it. they are on track to come out with a new system by 2024 called nielsen one. but right now they have a gap in streaming reporting. they’ve also recently lost their mrc accreditation

      espn is checking their own homework. so yes they have a better sense of the cross platform viewers, or ratings (these are not the same thing btw), but they could also be giving themselves generous thresholds since they sell those numbers to the street and agencies

      Like

  5. mdcgtp

    Senator, with all due respect, expansion helps us. Further, I am not sure how it damages the sport. The special nature every game matters is only special if the idiots that run the sport are capable of distinguishing between teams in quality.

    Imagine a world without the playoff. We would have stayed home in favor of Michigan and our wait would have continued.

    Now, imagine a world where the 2012 and 2018 teams got another shot. Heck, maybe just maybe, our 2020 team could have clawed its way past Clemson/Ohio State to reach the finals.

    To be clear, as long as talent concentrates at Bama, UGA, and OSU, we are likely to end up at the same spot every year with mismatches in semifinals between haves and have nots. We can’t solve that problem (nor do I want to). That said, IMHO, the sport would be much better off is the Pitt-MSU and Ole Miss-Baylor games were early round playoffs instead of meaningless games.

    The other thing I would point out is that playoff expansion must include a scheduling mandate or even a model where the schools in the playoff agree to hold back at least 2 non conference games to be scheduled based on competitive balance NFL style. Let’s amass data so when Michigan get beat by Arkansas by 2 TDs and UGA brutalizes Penn st or Wisconsin, the Big Ten echo chamber gets solved. If we really want every game to count, get rid of cupcake/paycheck games and replace them with interesting intersectional games, which are a means of picking your and my pocket. And for the “what about the programs that need the money?” Just create a fund out of the larger pool, cut them the check, and get them off UGA’s schedule.

    We are Kings now…act like it 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    • Imagine a world without the playoff. We would have stayed home in favor of Michigan and our wait would have continued.

      I love this assumption. The BCS was notorious for last minute changes in the rankings. Remember 2007?

      For that matter, who’s to say if the SECCG would have played out the same way if it were a winner take all match?

      Expansion means kids at places like Georgia and Alabama play more games to wind up in the same spot they’d be in most years anyway.

      Not that the suits care what I think. They’re just in it for the (more) money.

      Liked by 10 people

    • Biggen

      Why doesn’t everyone just treat the regular season like a playoff? Starts on week 1. Win all our games (or no more than 1 loss anyway) and your in.

      Liked by 5 people

      • Tony BarnFart

        These people are gonna cry and point fingers in a circle when big regular season games are ruined or late ones and conference title games even have starters sitting. None of them have an answer to the finances requiring a specific minimum number of home games. Probably because half these pushers spent most of their time as a fan inside 55,000 seat stadiums with 32,000 spectators present at some urban commuter school adjacent to an NFL team.

        Also, how the hell can you watch Jameson Williams blow his knee out in game 15 and think “we really need him to play 17 games.” The irony is that many of the same expansion pushers fancy themselves on the progressive edge of players rights as well. So many useful idiots.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Tony BarnFart

          The media is more than happy to let all the useful idiots believe that they can manufacture…something…that can help them compete with schools like ours with massive fan bases of rabid fans who open their wallets generously. If all it took were some new contracts and a little more money flowing here and there, then why the hell has Vanderbilt been a shitshow for their entire existence ?

          Like

    • godawgs1701

      In a world without the playoff, we win the 2017 national championship.

      Liked by 4 people

    • Sir, with all due respect…go watch the NFL. College football is a regional sport, composed of multiple micro-communities of aligned history and passion. ANY playoff format is a solution searching for a problem CFB does not, nor should not, try to solve. We were National Champions in 1980…with no playoffs. Harvard v Yale is a treasure, not MSU v Baylor in a early playoff round. No matter how many teams you seek to throw in a playoff format, you will not be identifying the “ best” team, just the winner of an invitational. Kirby has won a Peach, Rose, Sugar and Orange bowl. Those matchups and locations are legendary. Trying to level the playing field for the G of 5 at the expense of us playing OU, UM, Texas and even Bama in a rematch of #1 v #2 is counter to what CFP is all about.

      Liked by 2 people

      • PTC DAWG

        He’s proposing we drop the 2 cupcake games…not such a bad idea, IMHO.

        So this past season, instead of UAB (which wasn’t terrible) and Charleston Southern, we host a comparable Power 5 team and go on the road for 1. Seems like a fair trade to me.

        Like

        • I propose we drop cupcakes as well and get cross-regional Games of the Week. And no neutral site bullshit. But expanded playoffs is a whole nother matter. Count me out.

          Like

          • Tony BarnFart

            I wouldn’t mind seeing an “unknown opponent” seeded (as best as possible) conference challenge week plugged in as a non-conference game maybe in early November. Each year you would know the conference you were facing and whether it was home/road, but then the opponents would be announced maybe 2 weeks before. It wouldn’t be perfect seeding because not all conference matchups would have played out but it would be close enough to give a hell of a lot of data points that you could never get even in a 24 team playoff.

            Like

  6. Hogbody Spradlin

    When the public is losing interest in something, the solution isn’t to feed more of it. Hell, even I can figure that out.

    Liked by 3 people

    • kevinsauer

      its not about public interest, it’s about maximizing the dollar. a loss of 5mm viewers on a championshiop game is made up by an increase of 2-4mm per additional playoff game added to the mix. ESPN isn’t making one game deals, they are looking at increasing the entire pie.

      Like

  7. godawgs1701

    I’m beyond thrilled that Georgia got our championship in the four-team CFP era before they further water down the regular season with a pointlessly expanded playoff. There was not a team outside of the playoff this year with an argument to stake a claim to the title. Ohio State? They lost twice. The regular season is what’s special about college football, at least until they ruin it by trying to make this the NFL.

    I’m happy beyond measure that we’ve got the big trophy this year. But the national title and the playoff and all that isn’t what is most important in college football. At least, it shouldn’t be. The focus really needs to be on preserving the best season in sports. It isn’t. But, hey. We’ve got ours, I guess.

    Liked by 3 people

    • godawgs1701

      forgot to add, maybe everyone else should just try harder? If people are sick of seeing Alabama in the national championship picture then maybe they should get better. Maybe Southern Cal and Oregon and Texas and Florida State and whoever else should just get better at football so it isn’t always the same teams who care about it the most?

      Also, yeah, NotMyCross has it right: if you want ratings, put the game on Saturday.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Biggen

      Your first paragraph is my main argument against an expanded playoff. There are legitimately 2 or 3 teams a year (max!) that are NC contenders. Expanding the field to 12 teams will end up putting in some 3 loss teams into the mix. If we had a 12 team playoff this year, then a 3 loss Utah team would have gotten in and played Michigan which seems ridiculous. We would have played Michigan St (which admittedly would make a good storyline). But that’s a 2 loss team. If we are letting in 2 and 3 loss teams than isn’t this just Basketball?

      What do I know though? I’m just a guy posting on the internet.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. So many things at play here:

    as already mentioned in the comments, the way folks view the content has changed — you can’t compare straight ratings for an event to same ratings 6 years ago
    as already mentioned, the day/time sucks. MONDAY NIGHT? Kickoff at 8:20pm?
    also, the way the game played out was “BORING” to so many folks. At least five co-workers have congratulated me for the win but added that they either fell asleep before the fourth quarter (some before the half), or turned it off because it was no fun to watch (in their opinion). If it had been a score-fest, I think it would have gained/maintained a higher viewership.

    Like

    • DarthHenshaw

      The 2nd half of the game wasn’t boring, but if they insist on playing the game Monday night why would a casual stay up past 11pm on the East Coast to watch? A few of my friends who didn’t have a dog in the fight and who are college football fans fell asleep.

      Liked by 1 person

      • PTC DAWG

        As long as they get the 8-11 slot, they don’t care who goes to sleep. Eyeballs have seen the ads.

        Liked by 2 people

      • miltondawg

        There are but a very few times each year that I wished that I lived in central or mountain time zone. One of those is the CFP championship game. I have watched every single one start to finish regardless of who is playing since it will be the last college football game I get to watch for 7+ months. I have cursed myself on the following Tuesday for all of them other than earlier this week.

        Like

  9. practicaldawg

    I’d like to see a distribution of ratings by conference for the entire season. It live college football is still the life blood of cable, my guess is that the SEC is the life blood of college football. The expanded playoffs are the only option ESPN has left to add viewership on top of its SEC bell cow.

    Like

  10. Nil Butron is a Pud

    All in favor of playing all championships (CFP, Super Bowl, March Madness) on Saturdays. Don’t these people have jobs?…

    Liked by 6 people

  11. DarthHenshaw

    College football appears to be following the early 2000s NASCAR model. Turn your back on your regional fans for fans that will never come and then find out later the real fans lost interest.

    Liked by 8 people

  12. Faltering Memory

    I blame Don Meredith and Howard Cosell for championship games being played on Monday nights. Those two made Monday night a must be watched sports night.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. PatinDC

    How about putting it on ABC so more people can access it? My Dad , Danielsville, GT grad, didn’t even know the game was on.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. otto1980

    Waiting for the complaint when the playoff goes to 12 and a third of the field is from the SEC and another from the south in the ACC.

    Liked by 1 person

    • PTC DAWG

      This years top 12

      1 Alabama 12-1
      2 Michigan 12-1
      3 Georgia 12-1
      4 Cincinnati 13-0
      5 Notre Dame 11-1
      6 Ohio State 10-2
      7 Baylor 11-2
      8 Ole Miss 10-2
      9 Oklahoma State 11-2
      10 Michigan State 10-2
      11 Utah 10-3
      12 Pittsburgh 11-2

      6 northern teams…1-4 get a bye…UGA would have played Baylor/MSU winner.

      Like

  15. RangerRuss

    PatinDC, I’m going out on a limb here with much conjecture. However, you’re story could be an inspiration to astigmatated Red Raider types throughout Madison county. Overcoming the disadvantages of being raised by a tech grad and seeing the light of Bulldog Nation.
    😉

    Like

  16. I think our previous record against AL and the fact that they spanked us 4 weeks prior played a big role in the number of viewers.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. paulwesterdawg

    I think some of the ratings are still Covid related. Sports are simply not performing as well as pre pandemic.

    But the other issue I suspect is Bama and SEC fatigue. The rest of the country must be sick of this SEC show by now. How could they not be? I know that I’m sick of seeing Bama in the game.

    Like

  18. Harold Miller

    Do you ever get the feeling that CFB is being run by Bagdad Bob?

    Like

  19. Tony BarnFart

    I hate these people (the media) and their useful idiots on twitter. Nobody can explain how the fuck it’s going to help Purdue, Mississippi State, Iowa State and Utah if we go to 12 teams. Bringing in a few more eyeballs who otherwise don’t give a shit is going to end the SEC dominance how exactly ? Most of these people we’re arguing about pleasing could give 2 craps about the regular season. Why should I care as A FAN about converting non die hards ? You are either a fan or you are not. I personally don’t give a shit if some asshole in California isn’t interested. QUIT BEING USEFUL IDIOTS FOR THE MEDIA. ENJOY YOUR TEAMS HOME GAMES AND REGULAR SEASON ! Win and recruit better !

    Like

  20. Low ratings and need for expansion was the taking point on all ESPN radio channels yesterday. This shit is getting predictable as politics.

    Like

  21. uga97

    Lets just call CFB today what it is now, for crying out loud – NFL-Lite. Rebrand the CFP “The Road to the NFL” and people will watch the gell outta that. Problem solved.

    Like

  22. About to run out the door, so I can’t read all the comments before posting this… apologies if there’s repetition…

    This talking point is being parroted by people who don’t know a ton about the television/advertising industry, it seems. (I don’t know a TON about it, but I make my living in TV/Film, serve on Union Committees, and know a little).

    Overall, TV ratings are falling due to streaming. It is unlikely that television events are holding the numbers of their predecessors for that reason.

    However, this title game was the highest rated Cable Broadcast in 2 years. Not just football game. Cable Broadcast Event of any kind.

    They’re doing just fine.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. 123 Fake St

    Want more viewers?

    Move the game to Network TV.

    Some people are sick of ESPN and don’t have it in their cable/streaming package.

    And move it to 7:00 on a fucking Saturday! 😤

    Like

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