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College Football Playoff Semifinals Average Nearly 20 Million Viewers; Deliver Double Digit Total Live Audience Growth and Increases TV Audience for Both Games

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  • ESPN Aired Top 4 Most-Watched Cable Programs of 2016

The College Football Playoff Semifinals (December 31, 2016 at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.) delivered double-digit total live audience (TV + streaming) growth and increased its television audience in both games compared to last season’s semifinals.

College Football Playoff Doubleheader Up Double Digits
The College Football Playoff Semifinals averaged a total live audience of 19,728,000 viewers, up 14% from last season’s College Football Playoff Semifinal doubleheader on December 31, 2015 (4 p.m. and 8 p.m.) which averaged a total live audience of 17,360,000 viewers.

College Football Playoff Semifinals Audiences Grows in Both Games
The College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl between Washington and Alabama (December 31 at 3 p.m.) delivered a total live audience of 19,814,000 viewers, a 24% increase from last season’s College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Capital One Orange Bowl between Clemson and Oklahoma (December 31, 2015 at 4 p.m.).

The College Football Playoff Semifinal at the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl between Ohio State and Clemson (December 31 at 7 p.m.) delivered a total live audience of 19,646,000 viewers for the lopsided Tigers’ 31-0 victory, up 4% from last season’s College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic between Michigan State and Alabama (December 31 at 8 p.m.).

On TV only (ESPN and ESPN2), the Peach Bowl averaged 19,344,000 viewers and the Fiesta Bowl averaged 19,236,000 viewers, an increase of 23% and 3%, respectively, from last season’s Orange Bowl and Cotton Bowl.  Both games set streaming records, which was documented earlier today.

New Year’s Six Off to Fast Start
Counting the Capital One Orange Bowl (December 30, 2016 at 8 p.m.), the first three games of the New Year’s Six are averaging a total live audience of 16,765,000 viewers, a 27% increase from the first three games of last season’s New Year’s Six (December 31), which also included both semifinal games.

ESPN Airs Top Cable Programs of 2016; College Football Playoff Accounts For Three of Top Four
ESPN televised the four most-watched cable programs in the 2016 calendar year on any network, with three of the four occurring in the final week of the year –  Monday Night Football between the Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys (December 26, 2016) and yesterday’s two College Football Playoff Semifinals. Last season’s College Football Playoff National Championship between Clemson and Alabama was the most-watched cable program of 2016.

*Sustaining programming for the College Football Playoff National Championship not included

ESPN2 — aired Command Center production for both semifinals this year; Simulcast ESPN Deportes for last season’s semifinals
Streaming audience includes multiple feeds, including SkyCam and ESPN Deportes

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Media contact: Derek Volner at 860-384-9986; [email protected] and @DerekVolner