Return To New Year's Day Boosts CFP Semifinal Ratings, But Still Below Inaugural Year
The return of the CFP Semifinals to New Year's Day provided ESPN an uptick in overnight ratings compared to the last two seasons, when the doubleheader aired on New Year's Eve. ESPN and ESPN2 yesterday combined to average a 13.9 overnight rating for the CFP doubleheader, which saw Georgia win in double OT over Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl, followed by Alabama defeating Clemson in the Allstate Sugar Bowl. That figure is up from an 11.0 overnight last year, when ESPN/ESPN2 aired Alabama-Washington and Clemson Ohio State. Two years ago, ESPN alone averaged a 9.9 overnight for Clemson-Oklahoma and Alabama-Michigan State. For the inaugural semifinals in '15, ESPN alone averaged a 15.4 overnight for the Oregon-Florida State and Ohio State-Alabama doubleheader. For the Rose Bowl yesterday, ESPN/ESPN2 averaged a 14.8 overnight for Georgia-Oklahoma, which is the second-best overnight for a CFP semifinal, behind only the 15.5 overnight for Oregon-FSU Rose Bowl in '16. Last night's Alabama-Clemson matchup in the Sugar Bowl, which started at 9:00pm ET, drew a 12.5 overnight. That is the fourth-best overnight for a CFP game (Austin Karp, Assistant Managing Editor).
OUT OF SERVICE: In Charlotte, Langston Wertz Jr. notes some streaming TV customers "missed large swaths" of the Rose Bowl. DirecTV Now became "unusable for many customers in the second half, even kicking some users out of the system and forcing them to try to unsuccessfully login." The problem, which began in the fourth quarter, was "corrected by the time the second overtime was underway." The service also had "issues late in the first half" of the Sugar Bowl. Customers on Watch ESPN also "experienced issues" during the Rose Bowl, as the service was "likely strained with an onslaught of viewers tuning in to catch the breathless final moments." Users on some of the other popular streaming services, like Sony’s PlayStation Vue, did "not report similar issues, though some complained the broadcasts via the streaming services was 30 to 60 seconds behind what was shown on standard satellite and cable" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 1/2).
FILM ROOM MUSINGS: In Tulsa, Bill Haisten notes ESPN’s Rose Bowl game presentation "resulted in tremendous college football theater." The Rose Bowl stage was "carpeted with fresh, perfect turf," and the telecast "looked sensational in high definition." In ESPN's Coaches Film Room portion of the telecast on ESPNews, TCU coach Gary Patterson, at an "occasionally excessive level," was the "most talkative." His expertise is "undeniable, but Patterson talked so much" that North Carolina coach Larry Fedora and Houston coach Major Applewhite were "barely involved during lengthy stretches." When they had chances to speak, Syracuse's Dino Babers and West Virginia's Dana Holgorsen "were really good" (TULSA WORLD, 1/2). YAHOO SPORTS' Dan Wetzel tweeted that he enjoyed the "entire 'film room' crew," but Patterson is "next level." Wetzel: "Really good way to learn football" (TWITTER.com, 1/1).