NCAA College Football Championship Viewership 1991-2015


The ratings carnage over this year’s College Football Playoffs semifinals is well documented at this point. It’s fine for the CFP folks to hope to make a new football day/night in America, but New Year’s Eve? C’mon, man!

Worse, even after the results were in CFP Executive Director Bill Hancock had the stones to say that he’s not sure how big a factor the New Year’s Eve scheduling was in the semifinal ratings declines. C’mon, man!

But all is not lost since at least the CFP Championship game shouldn’t wreck anyone’s plans. Hopefully it will be a great game. It will be interesting to to try to ferret out next week what role, if any, the lower ratings for the semifinals have on the championship game’s numbers.

Update: SBJ’s Austin Karp notes that the 1991 Citrus Bowl winner Georgia Tech won a share of that year’s National Championship (Georgia Tech was #1 in the UPI poll). Sadly, I couldn’t dig up viewership for that game but it drew a 9.7/21 household rating share. By comparison, the Orange Bowl that year (which is in the table below) drew an 18.3/30.

College Football Championship Viewership 1991-2015

YearGameNetworkViewers (millions)Matchup
2016CFPESPN*Alabama vs. Clemson
2015CFPESPN*34.1Ohio State vs. Oregon
2014BCSESPN*26.1Auburn vs. Florida State
2013BCSESPN26.4Notre Dame vs. Alabama
2012BCSESPN24.2LSU vs. Alabama
2011BCSESPN27.3Oregon vs. Auburn
2010BCSABC30.8Texas vs. Alabama
2009BCSFOX26.8Florida vs Oklahoma
2008BCSFOX23.1LSU vs. Ohio State
2007BCSFOX28.8Florida vs. Ohio State
2006RoseABC35.6Texas vs. USC
2005OrangeABC21.4USC vs. Oklahoma
2004SugarABC23.9LSU vs. Oklahoma
2003FiestaABC29.1Ohio State vs. Miami
2002RoseABC21.6Miami (Florida) vs Nebraska
2001OrangeABC27.2Oklahoma vs. Florida State
2000SugarABC27.0Florida State vs Virginia Tech
1999FiestaABC26.1Tennessee vs Florida State
1998RoseABC29.0Michigan vs Washington State
1997SugarABC25.7Florida vs Florida State
1996FiestaCBS27.9Nebraska vs Florida
1995OrangeNBC30.0Nebraska vs Miami (Florida)
1994OrangeNBC28.8Florida State vs Nebraska
1993SugarABC30.1Alabama vs Miami (Florida)
1992OrangeNBC16.6Miami (Florida) vs Nebraska
1991OrangeNBC29.6Colorado vs Notre Dame

*includes megacast simulcasts on other ESPN networks


This article has 3 Comments

  1. Some years had split national championships (1990/91, 1991/92, 1997/98, 2003/04). For example, the 1998 Orange Bowl (CBS). Nebraska split the MNC with Michigan that year. Guessing it had a higher rating than the Rose Bowl.

    1. Ryan,

      Don’t have the viewership for the Orange Bowl that year, but Rose Bowl easily bested the Orange Bowl’s rating 17.6 vs. 13.3. My guess is the Nielsen list I culled this from picked the highest-rated game involving a champion.

Leave a Reply