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Ohio State football’s national championship loss to Alabama was also a TV ratings dud

The Plain Dealer  Cleveland logo The Plain Dealer Cleveland 1/13/2021 Nathan Baird, cleveland.com

COLUMBUS, Ohio — A lot of Ohio State football fans were likely inclined to turn off the College Football Playoff national championship game loss to Alabama in the third quarter.

Turns out a lot of potential viewers never turned the game on in the first place.

According to Sports Media Watch, Monday night’s 52-24 Crimson Tide victory was the lowest for any CFP or BCS national championship game. The game averaged 18.65 million viewers on various ESPN networks, per Nielsen’s estimates.

The previous low for a national championship was USC’s victory over Oklahoma in 2005, which drew 21.42 million viewers. The previous six CFP championship games averaged about 27.6 million viewers.

The championship game appears to have drawn fewer viewers than either of the Jan. 1 playoff semifinal games. The number of viewers decreased by over 25 percent from the previous two national championship games.

Ohio State’s Sugar Bowl victory over Clemson drew 19.1 million viewers, making it the most-watched game of the 2020 bowl season as well as the most-watched cable telecast and non-NFL sporting events on any network since the 2020 national championship.

However, the ratings for that game and the other semifinal between Alabama and Notre Dame (18.9 million) could have been a sign of declining audience. Both games represented the lowest New Year’s Day playoff game audiences.

Ohio State’s national championship game victory over Oregon in January 2015 — also played on a Monday — drew over 34 million viewers. That game did have the novelty of being the first year of the new playoff format.

Get Ohio State Sugar Bowl champs & CFP gear: Check out shirts, hats and more merchandise commemorating Ohio State’s Sugar Bowl win over Clemson, as well as gear on the Buckeyes advancing to the College Football Playoff national championship game.

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