The College Football Playoff Semifinal Ratings Were Very Strong

Ryan Glasspiegel
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Football continues to be on a roll in the ratings. ESPN has announced the numbers for the College Football Playoff semifinals, and it's a very positive story:

1) LSU-Oklahoma averaged 17.2 million viewers. Clemson-Ohio State averaged 21.2 million viewers.

2) Overall, the numbers were up 6 percent vs. 2018; LSU-Oklahoma was slightly up from Clemson vs. Notre Dame, and Clemson-Ohio State was up 9 percent versus last year's night game between Oklahoma and Alabama.

3) Trailing only the college football finals from last season, these were the second and third most watched telecasts on all of cable in 2019.

Football and baseball have performed very well in year-over-year comparisons on cable in comparison to the NBA, which would seem to put Mark Cuban's assertion that cord cutting is ravaging NBA ratings into different perspective. Monday Night Football on ESPN was up 8 percent vs. 2018, and had its best year since 2015. Sunday Night Baseball on ESPN was also up for the year.

Obviously, ESPN was helped out greatly Saturday night by Ohio State and Clemson coming down to the final minutes. Nevertheless, they weathered LSU-Oklahoma being a blowout the whole game, having essentially been decided in the first half.