It appears fans did not feel like watching most of Monday's College Football Playoff title game between Georgia and TCU, and it's hard to blame them.
The 65-7 show of force displayed by Georgia on its way to a second consecutive national championship drew only 17.223 million viewers for ESPN's family of channels, according to Austin Karp of Sports Business Journal. That number reportedly makes the Bulldogs' win the least-watched college football title game since the beginning of the BCS in 1999.
ESPN's main broadcast reportedly averaged only 16.6 million viewers, though the "Field Pass with The Pat McAfee Show," in which the former NFL punter and some of his friends watched and reacted to the game from the field, was a relative success with 423,000 viewers.
Georgia had the CFP title game won by the second quarter
Most stories about a sporting event's record-low ratings may see some soul-searching about the sport's future, but there's nothing really complex about what happened Monday.
Georgia was an enormous favorite (lopsided matchups are typically a ratings detriment), then proceeded to smack TCU in the face with a shovel for 60 minutes. The Bulldogs outgained the Frogs 589-188, won the turnover margin 3-0 and had their backup quarterback in for the entire fourth quarter. It was the largest margin of victory in the history of not just the College Football Playoff, but all bowl games.
So it's hard to blame non-Georgia fans for turning off the game early. TCU entered the game with a reputation built on magical comebacks, but there's no drama when the halftime score is 38-7.
The bright side for the College Football Playoff and ESPN is its semifinal thrillers did just fine in the ratings department, as the Fiesta Bowl (21.7 million viewers) and Peach Bowl (22.4 million) were the most-watched semifinal games in five years despite being on New Year's Eve.
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