If you watched the Rose Bowl or National Championship games during the College Football Playoff via WatchESPN or the ESPN App, you helped to make a bit of history just like the players on the field.
According to a release on Friday morning from ESPN that combines the Nielson cable ratings with those from the network’s streaming services, the Rose Bowl and the CFP title game have become third and second-most watched cable programs of all time.
One and a half million people watched each of the Rose Bowl and National Championship Game on streaming platforms. As a result, the title game between Alabama and Georgia from Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta brought in nearly 30 million total viewers, good for the second-highest cable broadcast ever.
So turns out that all-SEC final wasn’t a ratings deterrent after all.
“We have always known there was a significant audience watching, that until recently, wasn’t being measured,” said Ed Erhardt, ESPN President of Global Sales and Marketing. “We appreciate Nielsen working with us over the course of the last few years, making ‘Out of Home’ reporting possible for our advertisers and sponsors.”
Viewership for the thrilling double-overtime Rose Bowl Game between Georgia and Oklahoma, the best game of the college football season, has now reached 28.3 million when including streaming, good for third best ever.
The only cable broadcast with more viewers all time was the inaugural College Football Playoff National Championship Game between Oregon and Ohio State in January 2015, which 33 million people watched.
The release adds that the entire slate of New Year’s Six games combined with the National Championship game on ESPN was the most-watched in the College Football Playoff era.
“In the immediate aftermath of the games, we were thrilled with this year’s College Football Playoff, and the entire New Year’s Six,” said Burke Magnus, ESPN executive Vice President of Programming and Scheduling. “Today, that feeling has been magnified. The incredible strength of college football and the deep connection live sports has with fans is further exemplified with the latest audience figures reported by Nielsen.”
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