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

Year Game Network Viewers (millions) Matchup
2016 CFP ESPN* Alabama vs. Clemson
2015 CFP ESPN* 34.1 Ohio State vs. Oregon
2014 BCS ESPN* 26.1 Auburn vs. Florida State
2013 BCS ESPN 26.4 Notre Dame vs. Alabama
2012 BCS ESPN 24.2 LSU vs. Alabama
2011 BCS ESPN 27.3 Oregon vs. Auburn
2010 BCS ABC 30.8 Texas vs. Alabama
2009 BCS FOX 26.8 Florida vs Oklahoma
2008 BCS FOX 23.1 LSU vs. Ohio State
2007 BCS FOX 28.8 Florida vs. Ohio State
2006 Rose ABC 35.6 Texas vs. USC
2005 Orange ABC 21.4 USC vs. Oklahoma
2004 Sugar ABC 23.9 LSU vs. Oklahoma
2003 Fiesta ABC 29.1 Ohio State vs. Miami
2002 Rose ABC 21.6 Miami (Florida) vs Nebraska
2001 Orange ABC 27.2 Oklahoma vs. Florida State
2000 Sugar ABC 27.0 Florida State vs Virginia Tech
1999 Fiesta ABC 26.1 Tennessee vs Florida State
1998 Rose ABC 29.0 Michigan vs Washington State
1997 Sugar ABC 25.7 Florida vs Florida State
1996 Fiesta CBS 27.9 Nebraska vs Florida
1995 Orange NBC 30.0 Nebraska vs Miami (Florida)
1994 Orange NBC 28.8 Florida State vs Nebraska
1993 Sugar ABC 30.1 Alabama vs Miami (Florida)
1992 Orange NBC 16.6 Miami (Florida) vs Nebraska
1991 Orange NBC 29.6 Colorado 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.

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