Citing a drop in TV viewership, the College Football Playoff has finally announced that it is exploring the idea of moving its semifinal games away from New Year’s Eve, especially when the day falls on a weekday.
Ratings for the games on and around New Year’s Eve drop compared with games occurring on other dates, with numbers for the most recent December 31 game falling off 36 percent last year alone, according to CBS Sports.
Reportedly the total number of viewers fell by a disastrous 40 percent when it fell on Thursday last year.
CFP executive director Bill Hancock jokingly called the drop off in viewers a “first world problem,” meaning there could be worse troubles to beset the playoffs.
“This is a first-world problem because millions of people watched the semifinals on New Year’s Eve, just not as many watched the year before,” Hancock said.
“We have time,” he said of the planning schedule for this year’s games, “but we will be thinking about whether New Year’s Eve is the right way to go. What are the alternatives, which I don’t want to get into. What might be best to give us the possibility of more fans being able to watch the games?”
This isn’t the first time CFP has been asked to move games away from New Year’s Eve. Last year ESPN wanted the games moved but at that time CFP officials refused the request.
ESPN also noted that advertising rates were a problem for them for weekday games. They can’t charge as much on weekdays because the audience will simply be smaller.
While it is clear the organization is now seriously considering the problems with the date, it remains to be seen if CFP will actually make the move.
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