The College Football Playoff National Championship game between No.1 Georgia and No.3 TCU drew the worst-ever television ratings of the College Football Playoff and Bowl Championship Series (BCS) eras, which began in 1999.
A mere 17.2 million viewers, on average, tuned in to watch the Bulldogs embarrass the Horned Frogs 65-7 in the biggest blowout ever against a top-three team in the AP poll, eclipsing the previous low point that had been set by Alabama and Ohio State in the 2021 national championship (18.65 million).
Comparatively, last year’s matchup between Georgia and Alabama drew 22.6 million.
Several factors can affect the viewership ratings, including the importance of the game, the teams playing in it, the star players involved, the storylines surrounding it, the start time, competition from other channels, and how good the game actually ended up being.
The importance of a championship game is clear, and the teams, players, and storylines provided an interesting matchup on paper, although it was, perhaps, not the matchup many wanted. The game also started about 30 minutes earlier than in previous seasons.
Georgia quickly took control of the game, and the lack of competitiveness was not enough for casual fans to keep watching.
According to the TV Ratings Guide, the National Championship was the most-watched cable television program Monday night. However, there are fewer TV viewers overall these days, and about 30 million people have dropped cable. Though streaming services offer another option, they have not managed to make up for the loss of viewers.
The game’s television audience on Monday night peaked at 22.37 million around 7:30 pm CT but began to dwindle quickly. By 8:15 CT, less than 20 million people were still watching, and just over 10 million stayed for the last 15 minutes.
This was also the second time in the last three years that the championship game was not the most-watched game of the season. Both semifinal games brought in much bigger audiences, and even the Michigan-Ohio State regular-season game over Thanksgiving weekend came in just below the championship game at 17.0 million.