SBD/January 11, 2017/Media

ESPN's Clemson-Alabama Draws Lowest College Football Title Game Audience Since '12

Clemson-Alabama drew 25.3 million viewers across ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU on Monday night, marking the lowest audience for a college football national title game since Alabama-LSU drew 24.2 million viewers on just ESPN in '12. Clemson-Alabama is down 3% from the same matchup in the CFP Championship last year (also a three-net “megacast”), and down 25% from 33.9 million viewers for Ohio State-Oregon in '15 (four-net megacast including ESPNews). While down from recent college title games, Clemson-Alabama marks the eighth-best audience in cable TV history. ESPN now has the nine most-viewed cable TV telecasts ever, led by Ohio State-Oregon in the inaugural CFP title game (Austin Karp, Assistant Managing Editor). SHOWBUZZDAILY.com's Mitch Metcalf noted Clemson-Alabama was "exceeding long" at 4 hours, 17 minutes. This compares to 3 hours, 22 minutes for Alabama-Clemson 20 last year and a "downright speedy" 3 hours, 5 minutes for Ohio State-Oregon two years ago. As Clemson-Alabama "pushed past 12:30 am ET, fewer viewers were available with each passing minute, causing nearly double-digit declines in the available audience in the game’s time period versus prior years" (SHOWBUZZDAILY.com, 1/10).

CFP/BCS NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP AUDIENCE TREND
YEAR
CFP/BCS
GAME
NET(S)
VIEWERS (000)
'17
CFP
Clemson-Alabama
ESPN/ESPN2/ESPNU
25,319
'16
CFP
Alabama-Clemson
ESPN/ESPN2/ESPNU
26,125
'15
CFP
Ohio State-Oregon
ESPN/ESPN2/
ESPNU/ESPNews
33,922
'14
BCS
Florida State-Auburn
ESPN
25,572
'13
BCS
Alabama-Notre Dame
ESPN
26,380
'12
BCS
Alabama-LSU
ESPN
24,214
'11
BCS
Auburn-Oregon
ESPN
27,316

EATING CROW: FOXSPORTS.com's Aaron Torres noted FS1’s Colin Cowherd was called out by Clemson coach Dabo Swinney during his postgame press conference on Monday after Cowherd had been “relatively critical of the Tigers as a title contender.” Swinney said, “The guy that called us a fraud, ask Alabama if we’re a fraud. Was the name Colin Cowherd? I never met him, don’t know him. ... The only fraud is that guy, ’cause he didn’t do his homework. I hope y’all print that.” Cowherd “addressed the ‘controversy’” yesterday on his show “The Herd.” He "did apologize, and gave credit where it was due.” Cowherd: “All I can say to Dabo Swinney is, you’re a hell of a coach, you made college football better. You gave me … four-and-a-half hours of entertainment. And your players showed such great character in the most crucial moments” (FOXSPORTS.com, 1/10).
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