2022 College Football Playoff National Championship Nets 22.6 Million Viewers, Cable’s Top Telecast in Two Years

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2022 College Football Playoff National Championship Nets 22.6 Million Viewers, Cable’s Top Telecast in Two Years

  • Champ Game Up 19 Percent vs. Last Year
  • ESPN Telecasts Four Most-Viewed College Football Games of the 2021-22 Season

The 2022 College Football Playoff National Championship was one for the record books, as Georgia secured its first national title since 1980. The viewership of ESPN’s MegaCast presentation reflected the excitement surrounding the Alabama-Georgia showdown, with 22.6 million viewers tuning in across ESPN networks.

The Dawgs’ thrilling 33-18 victory over the SEC Champion Crimson Tide was up 19 percent from last year’s national championship contest between Alabama and Ohio State. The matchup peaked with 25.4 million viewers.

The Circle City showdown is the top event on cable since the 2020 LSU/Clemson national championship game and the most-viewed non-NFL sporting event during that span on any network. In fact, the top five non-NFL sports events during that time have been CFP Semifinal and Championship games.

The main ESPN telecast of Monday night’s showcase is the second-most-viewed non-NFL telecast (sports or non-sports) on a single network since February 2020. ESPN’s presentation of the action from Indianapolis is the most-watched TWDC telecast since the 2021 NFL Wild Card Game.

The share of TV viewers tuned in to this year’s CFP National Championship on ESPN networks was the best on record in the CFP era. 29 percent of people and 38 percent of adults 18-49 watching television Monday night were tuned in to the CFP National Championship.

Streaming Creates MegaCast Magic
Across all ESPN3/ESPN App exclusive feeds, streaming minutes were up 33 percent over 2020. Outside of the linear telecasts, Alabama’s Hometown Radio MegaCast was the most-streamed feed for both uniques and minutes. The Alabama and Georgia Hometown Radio MegaCast viewing options saw substantial year-over-year gains across AMA (up 75 percent), uniques (up 30 percent), minutes (up 85 percent), starts (up 20 percent) and minutes/viewer (up 35 percent).

New Year’s Six and National Championship Up Double Digits YOY
The New Year’s Six and CFP National Championship were up 16 percent over last year’s edition, notching 14.2 million average viewers across the seven games. The CFP semifinals and national championship game registered 18.9 million average viewers, on par with last year’s CFP when the semifinals were on New Year’s Day.

This year’s New Year’s Six finished up double digits year-over-year, averaging 12.7 million viewers, and every bowl of the 2021 New Year’s Six surpassed 7.5 million viewers for just the third time of the CFP era. The non-Semifinal New Year’s Six bowls recorded nearly 11 million viewers per game, ranking third out of the eight years of the CFP.

Putting A Bow on Bowl Season
Bowl Season delivered in the 2021-22 season, with 29 of 31 non-NY6 bowls this season surpassing one million viewers. Eighteen bowls drew more than two million viewers and nine topped three million. The 31 non-NY6 bowl games registered 2.6 million viewers across ESPN networks, up 12 percent year-over-year. On ESPN, bowl games recorded 2.5 million viewers per game, up 24 percent from 2020 and slightly up from 2019. Of the 27 bowls with a viewership comparison to 2019, 10 had their best audience since at least 2017 and seven had their best since at least 2015.

Across the regular season and postseason, ESPN networks delivered the four most-viewed games of the 2021-22 season (CFP National Championship, both CFP Semifinals and The Rose Bowl Game) and 59 of the top 100 games overall. ESPN networks were responsible for 62 percent of live game college football minutes viewed this season across all nationally measured linear networks.

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Amanda Brooks

Amanda is the Director of Communications for ESPN College Football and SEC Network, and oversees publicity for college gymnastics and track & field across all ESPN networks. Amanda is a proud alum of Hendrix College in Conway, Ark., and earned her master's in ethics from Vanderbilt University. A native of Kent, Ohio, she is a die-hard Cleveland sports fan.
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