After New Year’s Eve Ratings Disaster, CFP Semifinals are Moving

The idea of building a new tradition on New Year’s Eve happened just one year before college football playoff Executive Director http://www.collegefootballplayoff.com/press-releases/future-playoff-semifinals-will-be-on-saturdays-and-holidays">Bill Hancock changed course. Now, the schedule has been changed in the four years that the semifinals were to be played on Dec. 31.

Hancock believed that the semifinals on http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/ncaaf/2016/07/28/when-is-the-college-football-playoff-date-change-bill-hancock-new-years-eve/87644010/?hootPostID=72d050f76a6f00b09ccf6e975996b520">New Year's Eve would create a new tradition of college football fans staying home to watch playoff football. Instead, the rating for the first game was http://www.si.com/college-football/2016/01/01/college-football-playoff-viewership-new-years-eve-decline-espn">45 percent lower than 2015, and the second game’s rating was 34.4 percent lower than the previous year.

The ratings might have been lost due to the fact that the games in the 2016 playoffs weren’t very competitive. Clemson University bounced the University of Oklahoma 37-17 in a game that saw the Tigers pull away in the second half.

In the second game, the University of Alabama destroyed Michigan State University 38-0. Either way, both games gave football fans reason to leave the TV and ring in the New Year elsewhere.

In the 2015 playoffs, the University of Oregon pulled away from Florida State University in the second half, and Ohio State slipped past Alabama 42-35. The first year of the playoffs saw games with a little more sizzle.

Oregon featured 2014 Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota, and FSU was the defending champion and featured 2013 Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston. College football blue bloods Alabama and OSU were going to draw eyes from nearly all college-football fans.

While Oklahoma and Alabama are traditional college-football powers, Michigan State and Clemson have just recently become year-in and year-out conference-title contenders, meaning, to the average fan, the matchups weren’t as sexy as the year before.

Fans of the teams playing in the semifinals might want to stay home and watch, but fans of other teams more than likely wanted to celebrate the coming New Year. College football fans had been trained to watch the biggest games on New Year’s Day, not New Year’s Eve.

It was a tradition the college football playoff tried to break, but it failed. Fans still wanted their New Year’s Day games but didn’t want to stay at home or at least watch football at home on New Year’s Eve.

The schedule has been shifted in the four years (2018-2019, 2019-2020, 2024-2025, and 2025-2026) playoff games were scheduled to fall on New Year’s Eve. The games were moved to the preceding Saturday.

The 2016-2017 semifinals, which will be played after this season, were not changed. The 2021-2022 semifinals will still be played on New Year’s Eve, which is on a Friday, but it will be the federal New Year’s Day holiday.

ESPN is paying $7.3 billion over 12 years to broadcast the playoffs and http://www.gwinnettdailypost.com/sports/college/espn-wants-to-move-next-year-s-college-football-playoff/article_5c6c2238-b8f0-5b75-9025-91111d6315c5.html">wanted the semifinals moved off New Year’s Eve after the ratings drop. http://www.sbnation.com/college-football/2016/1/8/10737750/college-football-playoff-ratings-new-years-eve-no-date-change">Hancock stood firm earlier this year before beginning to http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/ncaaf/2016/07/13/cfp-willing-to-consider-moving-semifinals-off-new-years-eve/87042414/">soften his stance.

Now, with a little over a month before the 2016 season is set to begin, Hancock has done a 180 and changed the dates for the games set to be played on New Year’s Eve.


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