Press release from ESPN, Jan. 14, 2020:
The 2020 College Football Playoff National Championship (Jan. 13, 8 p.m. ET) viewership surpassed last year’s CFP National Championship initial audience and all other cable programming since January of 2018, as No. 1 LSU vs. No. 3 Clemson delivered cable’s best viewership in more than two years.
ESPN’s MegaCast presentation of LSU’s victory delivered an initial audience of 25,588,000 viewers, surpassing ESPN’s MegaCast audience for Clemson’s win in the CFP National Championship last season by 308,000 viewers (1%). Last year’s initial Nielsen audience was 25,280,000 viewers.
The LSU vs Clemson audience also resulted in cable’s best viewership – across all programming, sports and otherwise – since the Alabama-Georgia College Football Playoff National Championship (Jan. 8, 2018).
ESPN’s MegaCast audience peaked at 29,200,000 viewers, after LSU took the lead for the first time late in the second quarter (9:45-10 p.m.). The LSU Tigers would never trail again in the game.
ESPN’s Main Telecast Also Up Year-Over-Year
Solely on ESPN, the primary telecast of LSU-Clemson delivered an audience of 25,004,000 viewers, up 3% from the same presentation of the CFP National Championship last season (24,322,000 viewers).
LSU-Clemson a Top 10 Cable Audience Ever; CFP Games Dominates Cable’s Most-Watched List
Already, without full streaming data reported, LSU-Clemson is one of cable’s Top 10 biggest audiences. CFP games, inclusive of the Semifinals, now account for eight of cable’s top 10 audiences.
LSU-Clemson on Pace to Surpass All Three Alabama-Clemson CFP National Championship Audiences
LSU-Clemson’s MegaCast audience is on pace to surpass the audiences for all three Clemson-Alabama CFP National Championship matchups once this season’s full Nielsen data is reported. As a result, LSU-Clemson is likely to finish as the third most-watched CFP National Championship. Full streaming audiences will be available next week, and out of home viewing, in a few weeks.
Three-Game College Football Playoff Now Up 4% Year-Over-Year
This year’s College Football Playoff averaged 21,646,000 viewers across the three games, up 4% from last season and surpassing the three-game CFP averages in the 2015 and 2016 seasons, both years where the Semifinals were played outside of New Year’s Day. Full streaming audiences will be available next week, and out of home viewing, in a few weeks.
ESPN’s MegaCast Presentation offered multiple productions for the game; however, only ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPNEWS’ audiences are represented in this release. ESPN Deportes is Nielsen-rated, but data is not currently available and won’t be used in final audience total.
ESPN Classic, Goal Line, ACC Network and SEC Network are not Nielsen rated. As a result, their audiences are not accounted for in this release. Additionally, streaming-only feeds on ESPN App are not accounted for either.