The ratings are in...and they're good.
"An All-SEC national championship game is bad for college football."
That was a sentiment felt by many heading into Monday night's national title game between Alabama and Georgia. Maybe it's true, to an extent, but it certainly wasn't bad for TV ratings.
The overtime contest between the Crimson Tide and the Bulldogs is one of the most-watched college football games in recent history. ESPN published the official TV ratings numbers for the contest this afternoon. They're good - really good.
ESPN’s presentation of College Football Playoff National Championship between Georgia and Alabama (8 p.m. ET, Jan 8) averaged 28,443,000 viewers on its Nielsen-rated networks (ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU as part of its MegaCast production), up 13% from last season’s down-to-the-wire College Football Playoff National Championship on the same three Nielsen-rated networks. This season’s College Football Playoff National Championship, the first ever to go to overtime, was also up 9% from ESPN’s MegaCast presentation (ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU) of the second CFP National Championship (January 11, 2016). For Georgia-Alabama, the ESPN-only telecast averaged 27,383,000 million viewers.
The game had the second-best overnight rating of the College Football Playoff era.
The fact that we got an awesome game surely played a big role in the TV numbers, but maybe there isn't as much Alabama/SEC fatigue as we thought.