Georgia staged a fourth-quarter rally to defeat Alabama in the College Football Playoff final on Monday night, but television viewers weren’t completely enthralled.
While TV ratings for the contest were up 19 percent from the CFP title game the prior year, the contest was still the second-least-watched college football championship game this century.
A total of 22.6 million viewers across numerous ESPN-branded networks watched Georgia top Alabama 33-18 in Indianapolis. Last year, when Alabama routed Ohio State 52-24 for the title, 18.7 million tuned in.
Since the Bowl Championship Series began pitting the nation’s top two teams in a title game in 1998-99, and then the current four-team CFP system began in 2014-15, last year’s game and this year’s game sit at the bottom of the ratings list.
The record rating during the CFP era was 34.6 million when Ohio State beat Oregon 42-20 to cap the 2014-15 season.
When Alabama beat Georgia 26-23 in overtime to determine the 2017-18 championship, 28.4 million people watched.
According to ESPN, the Monday game was the highest-rated event on cable television since LSU’s 42-25 win over Clemson in the 2019-20 CFP title game. The network also stated that the game’s 29 percent “share” (percentage of viewers watching television at the time who were watching that program) was a record for the BCS era.