Rejoice: your New Year's Eve will not longer be spent at home watching the College Football Playoff while everyone else is out partying.
Playoff executive director Bill Hancock told USA TODAY Sports that the event’s management committee decided to change the dates of the Playoff semifinals in four of seven years when games are scheduled for Dec. 31.
Why the change?
It's simple: ratings.
To the committee, airing the semifinals of one of the most-watched events in the US on rowdiest night of the year seems like a great idea in theory. But honestly, who actually wants to stay glued in front of the game either home alone or in a crowded, noisy bar when you could be celebrating with your friends?
— CFBPlayoff (@CFBPlayoff)
“These adjustments will allow more people to experience the games . . . it's the right thing to do for our fans.” - @BHancockCFP
— College Football Playoff (@CFBPlayoff) July 28, 2016
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Ultimately, the College Football Playoff TV ratings for the last year’s semifinals, played on New Year’s Eve dropped 40% from the 2014 semifinals, held on New Year’s Day. That's significant.
The caveat: the changes are not effective until the 2018 season. This year's Fiesta and Peach bowls won't move from New Year's Eve. The Playoff officials, however, consider our social lives and changed the games' start times to 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. EST, an hour earlier than last year's semifinals. You'll gain an extra hour of partying, or maybe just have some time to catch up with your friends.
So, how should you plan ahead?
In 2017, the Rose and Sugar bowls are on New Year’s Day.
In 2018, the Cotton and Orange bowls are on Saturday, Dec. 29.
Then, in 2019, the Fiesta and Peach bowls are on Saturday, Dec. 28.
Do you approve of the changes to the upcoming College Football Playoff schedule?