Viewership for the College Football Playoff tanked yet again for this season’s edition, with a variety of factors likely to blame.

Per Austin Karp of the Sports Business Journal (and fact checked on ShowBuzz Daily), the MegaCast presentation of Alabama-Cincinnati drew 16.6 million viewers, the second least-watched Playoff semifinal ever.

The MegaCast presentation of Georgia-Michigan was slightly better, drawing 17.2 million viewers. That’s the least-watched semifinal in the late window ever and the third least-watched semifinal ever (beating just Alabama-Cincinnati and the aforementioned Clemson-Oklahoma 2015 game).

Last year, we broke down the Playoff viewership, and one trend that immediately popped up was the effect that scheduling had on the Playoff. With this year’s games taking place on New Year’s Eve, which landed on a Friday, the Playoff was already behind the eight-ball. Toss in a couple of wholly uncompetitive games, and you’ve got the recipe for an all-time low average for a pair of semifinals.

We’ll learn a lot more about the Playoff’s allure after next week’s National Championship matchup between Georgia and Alabama. Prior to last season, the floor for the title game was 25 million viewers – every Playoff championship game hit that mark, regardless of how the semifinals played out. Only the inaugural Playoff title game, between Ohio State and Oregon, dramatically exceeded that floor. But last year, Alabama’s blowout win over Ohio State only drew 18.654 million viewers, a record low by a significant amount. That was actually a tad smaller than the average for both of the Playoff semifinals, when we’ve seen viewership increase (usually by a sizeable margin) in every other edition of the Playoff.

If that trend continues next week, the blame can’t be placed on New Year’s Eve, Friday night, or Group of 5 teams. The powers that be at the NCAA, the Playoff Committee, and ESPN will need to take a long, hard look at how to ensure people give a shit about the Playoff like they have in the past.

[ShowBuzz Daily]

About Joe Lucia

I hate your favorite team. I also sort of hate most of my favorite teams.