College Football Semifinals Score 6-Year Audience High For ESPN – Deadline

ESPN kicked off the year on a high note with impressive audiences tuning in to watch Monday’s showdowns for a spot in the National Championship games.

The Rose Bowl and the Sugar Bowl collectively averaged 22.6M viewers, according to Nielsen data. That makes it the most-watched semifinals in six years, when those matchups managed an audience of 24M in the 2017 postseason.

Michigan and Alabama scored the larger of the two audiences, with 27.2M tuning in for the nail biter that sent Michigan to the National Championship game in overtime.

That’s the best semi-final audience since the creation of the CFP in 2014. It’s also the best audience for a non-NFL sporting event since 2018.

The game peaked with 32.8M viewers, which is the best for any CFP semi-final to date.

After a bit of a late start due to the first game’s overtime win, about 18.4M people stuck around to watch Washington and Texas duke it out. That marks the fourth-highest Sugar Bowl audience in 20 years and the third highest non-NFL sporting event in the past year.

This game also went down to the wire, peaking at 24.5M viewers.

In all, the New Year’s Six matchups — which also include the Cotton Bowl, Orange Bowl, Peach Bowl and Fiesta Bowl — averaged 13.3M viewers. That’s the most-watched lineup since the 2018 postseason.

Michigan and Washington will fight for the national title on January 8 at 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.

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