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National Championship Caps Exciting College Football Playoff Which Delivers Ratings Growth, Sets Numerous Streaming Records

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  • New Year’s Six Plus Championship Game Up Year-Over-Year
  • CFP National Championship Delivers 15.3 Combined Overnight Rating, Sets Streaming Records for Third Consecutive Year

The College Football Playoff (Semifinals + National Championship) averaged a 12.7 overnight rating and a streaming audience of 535,000 average viewers, 1,655,000 unique viewers watching 120,090,000 minutes. The three game overnight average is up 8% from last season’s same three games and streaming audience is up 39%, 25%, 38%, respectively, in average minute audience, unique viewers and total minutes watched. The streaming average is the best in the three years of the College Football Playoff – in all three metrics – surpassing the first year by 100%, 65%, and 98%, respectively.

Factoring in the entire New Year’s Six, the seven games (New Year’s Six + Championship) averaged a 9.0 overnight and a streaming audience of 355,000 average viewers, 1,155,000 unique viewers watching 79,095,000 minutes. The overnight average is up 8% from last season and streaming audience is up 49%, 30%, 48%, respectively, in average audience minute audience, unique viewers and total minutes watched. The streaming average is the best in the three years of the new system – in all three metrics – surpassing the first year by 132%, 96%, and 130%, respectively.

The College Football Playoff National Championship Presented by AT&T between Clemson and Alabama (January 9, 2017) set streaming records for the third consecutive year.  The Tigers’ victory had a streaming average audience of 710,000 viewers with 2,413,000 unique viewers watching 182,575,000 minutes – setting new highs in all three categories for a college football game on any ESPN network and surpassing last season’s national championship game between the same teams (January 11, 2016). The streaming audience was up 21%, 25% and 30%, respectively, in average minute audience, unique viewers and total minutes watched from the before mentioned 2016 CFP National Championship.  The unique viewers is ESPN’s third best across all sports, trailing only two USA World Cup games which were played during traditional working hours.

ESPN’s record-breaking national championship streaming audience concludes a 10-day stretch which delivered  the most streamed semifinal (Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl featuring Washington vs. Alabama) and non-semifinal New Year’s Six game (Rose Bowl Game Presented by Northwestern Mutual  featuring USC vs. Penn State) ever.

ESPN’s national championship television presentation delivered a 15.3 overnight combined rating, a top six event for ESPN on record across all sports. Birmingham delivered a 53.6 local rating, easily the best among all markets. The complete top markets:

Rank Rating Market
1 53.6 Birmingham
2 35.1 Greenville
3 28.2 Atlanta
4 26.6 Nashville
5 25.8 Knoxville
6 23.6 Charlotte
7 23.2 Jacksonville
8 22.9 New Orleans
9 22.5 Columbus
10 22.3 Memphis

College Football Playoff Semifinals were December 31 in 2015 (4 p.m. and 8 p.m.) and 2016 (3 p.m, and 7 p.m.); Games were televised on ESPN and ESPN2 both year and last year. Streaming audience includes multiple feeds for all metrics and comparisons

New Year’s Six consists of Capital One Orange Bowl, Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, PlayStation Fiesta Bowl, Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic, Rose Bowl Game Presented by Northwestern Mutual and Allstate Sugar Bowl. Each year, two of the games are College Football Playoff Semifinals.

**Overnight includes all of ESPN’s Nielsen-rated networks which were part of the MegaCast (ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU). SEC Network, ESPNEWS, ESPN Classic and ESPN Goal Line are not rated and thus not included

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Media contact: Derek Volner at 860-384-9986; Derek.Volner@ESPN.com and @DerekVolner