The all-SEC National Championship Game had broader appeal than a matchup between an SEC team and an ACC team a year ago.
ESPN said Tuesday that ratings for Alabama’s overtime win over Georgia were up nine percent over the ratings for Clemson’s last-second win over Alabama a year ago in the national championship. It’s easy to think that overtime had something to do with it, but Clemson’s winning touchdown from Deshaun Watson to Hunter Renfrow happened with one second left in 2017.
The network said its three broadcasts on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU combined to deliver an overnight rating of 16.7. A majority of those viewers watched the main game broadcast on ESPN as it drew a 16.0 rating.
The game is the second-most watched College Football Playoff game in the four seasons of the format’s existence. The only game that got more viewers was the inaugural title game between Ohio State and Oregon. That Ohio State win garnered a rating of 18.8.
The heartbreaking loss for Georgia was the second time the Bulldogs have been involved in a highly-rated playoff game. The Bulldogs’ 54-48 overtime win over Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl got a 14.8 rating for ESPN on New Year’s Day. It’s the third-most watched playoff semifinal behind the first two CFP semifinals on New Year’s Day in 2015.
The seven markets that had the highest ratings for the game were all in the southeast. Birmingham led the way with a rating of 57.6. Outside of SEC country, the game was most watched in Austin, Texas, and Columbus, Ohio.
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