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Sunday, May 19, 2024

Epic College Football Playoff Semifinals Give ESPN Ratings Boost

  • Georgia-Ohio State gets 22.1 million audience.
  • TCUs's upset of Michigan gets 21.1 million viewers.
Syndication: USA TODAY

Two of the best semifinal games in the modern College Football Playoff era generated big viewership numbers for Disney’s ESPN. 

The network’s Saturday coverage of Georgia-Ohio State in the Peach Bowl and TCU-Michigan in the Fiesta Bowl averaged 21.7 million viewers. 

That’s up 28% over last season – and the best in five years, according to Nielsen Fast Nationals.

The two games ranked as the most-watched non-New Year’s Day semifinals ever. They were the third most-watched since the CFP era kicked off in 2014. 

More on ESPN’s big College Football Playoff TV numbers: 

  • Defending national champion Georgia’s 42-41 comeback victory over Ohio State averaged 22.1 million viewers, peaking at 23.9 million between 9:45 p.m. and 10 p.m. ET. The thriller ranked as the most-watched primetime semifinal since the first year of the CFP – and fourth-best ever. It was also the top non-NFL sporting event on a single broadcast or cable network since the 2022 CFP National Championship.
  • Earlier in the day, TCU’s 51-45 upset win over Michigan averaged 21.4 million viewers, peaking at 26.4 million from 7:45 p.m. to 8 p.m. ET. It was the third most-watched afternoon semifinal of the CFP era – and sixth best ever.
  • Both games ranked among the Top 5 non-NFL telecasts since the start of 2022. Across all streaming platforms, ESPN totaled 336 million minutes, up 36% from last year.
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