Alabama Fatigue? CFP National Title Game Low Viewership
On Monday the Alabama Crimson Tide defeated the Ohio State Buckeyes in the College Football Playoff National Championship game. However, the ratings for the game have recently been announced, and it shows that it may not have been as well received as Tide fans would believe.
According to this chart from Sports Watch, the Alabama vs. Ohio State game was viewed on ESPN by 18.653 million viewers. At first that number seems large, and it is for a Monday night compared to other shows on cable, but going back to previous National Championship games, it is down about 13%. Last season, the contest between LSU and Clemson drew 25.588 million viewers.
Another stunning development to the ratings showed that both semi-final games actually drew more viewership than the final game of the season if you look at the average between the two games. 18.893 million viewers for the Rose Bowl game and 19.149 million viewers for the Sugar Bowl game (which was the highest out of all 3 games and also a first in history).
There are a number of reasons that this could have happened, but fans believe the main reason is because of Alabama fatigue. Alabama has made it to the National Championship game since the inception of the playoff format every year except last season. Winning changes culture and it seems as though winning also has changed viewership ratings when Alabama competes for championships.
In addition to fatigue, it could be the game day schedule. The National Championship game airs right after wild card weekend in the NFL and there are those who watch a lot of football even if their team isn't playing. Could college football reschedule the game for the Friday night before wild card weekend? Time will soon tell, but ESPN's new deal with the SEC and college football will need to take a strong look at viewership moving forward.