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College Football Playoff title game draws nearly 26m US viewers

Louisiana State University, led in part by Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Joe Burrow (center) celebrates winning the College Football Playoff National Championship.

College football’s championship game drew 25.59m US viewers on television, marking the best cable television audience in the country in more than two years.

The College Football Playoff National Championship, shown January 13 on ESPN and won by Louisiana State University, posted 1 per cent audience growth from last year, marking the highest viewership on US cable, regardless of content type or genre, since the 2018 CFP title matchup between Alabama and Georgia that drew 28.44m viewers.

The event, drawing numbers somewhat similar to the individual game draws during to the recent NFL Wild Card playoff weekend, further serves as testimony for the US’ continuing love affair with American football. The audience number for the college football title game far surpasses those for nearly every recent game in Major League Baseball’s World Series, the National Basketball Association Finals, or hockey’s Stanley Cup Finals. 

ESPN once again broadcast the CFP title game through its MegaCast strategy that featured 15 different variants of game coverage across ESPN’s portfolio of platforms, offering a wide variety of camera angles not typically available in US pro sports telecasts.

With the title game now complete, the entire three-game CFP averaged 21.65m viewers in the US, up 4 per cent from a year ago.

College Football Playoff Championship History

YEAR        MATCHUP                 US VIEWERS

2020         LSU-Clemson                25.59m

2019        Clemson-Alabama        25.28m

2018         Alabama-Georgia         28.44m

2017         Clemson-Alabama        25.27m

2016         Alabama-Clemson       26.13m