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College Football Playoff Ratings Fall By 25%

“The ratings for this year’s Orange and Cotton Bowls rank seventh and ninth respectively amongst all ten College Football Playoff semifinals in history.”

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The College Football Playoff experienced a big ratings drop over the weekend. 16.8 million people tuned in for Clemson’s demolition of Notre Dame in the Cotton Bowl, while just over 19 million tuned in for Alabama’s win in primetime over Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl. Both games were played on Saturday night, December 29.

The numbers represent a 25% drop from the total audience of 48 million that watched the semifinals last year. Those games, the Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl, were played on New Year’s Day. The ratings for this year’s Orange and Cotton Bowls rank seventh and ninth respectively amongst all ten College Football Playoff semifinals in history.

ESPN pays $600 million per year to televise the New Year’s Six bowls, including the two that are part of the College Football Playoff, and the National Championship Game. That contract stipulates that no matter which two bowls are the national semifinals, the Rose and Sugar Bowls will always be played on New Year’s Day. The six semifinal games that were not played on New Year’s Day all experienced ratings drops from the semifinal games most recently played in that time slot.

It is unfair to say that the games not being on New Year’s Day is the sole reason viewership slipped from last year. However, it’s worth noting that one of New Year’s Day’s games, the Rose Bowl between Ohio State and Washington, did beat the Cotton Bowl in viewership.

Other factors that could have contributed to the falloff in ratings include viewer fatigue, as Alabama has been in every College Football Playoff, Clemson has been in all but one, and Oklahoma has been in three of the last four. There is also the lack of suspense in either game. The Cotton Bowl was a blowout, and although Oklahoma had a very good second half in the Orange Bowl, Alabama was up 28-0 before the Sooners scored a single point.

Sports TV News

Matthew Berry: ‘Entrepreneurial Spirit’ Led to ESPN Exit

“I have an entrepreneurial spirit…I wanted to continue my Fantasy Life stuff. I wanted to be able to keep doing that and building those businesses,” said Berry.

Ricky Keeler

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Matthew Berry

It’s been over a week since renowned fantasy football expert Matthew Berry joined NBC Sports after announcing his intention to leave ESPN after 15 years. It made many to wonder why Berry would switch networks.

Berry was on the Brother from Another show with Michael Smith this week. Smith and Berry will do two fantasy shows in the upcoming weeks. On Wednesday, August 17 at 8 PM ET on Peacock, they will host the RotoWorld Draft Guide Show. During the football season, the duo will host the Fantasy Football Tailgate show from 11 AM-1 PM on Peacock before the day’s NFL action begins.

Before the two of them broke down fantasy football, Berry told Smith that he wasn’t necessarily looking to leave the Worldwide Leader and the money wasn’t exactly that much different.

“I wasn’t looking to leave ESPN. I have nothing bad to say about the place. The reason anyone gives a blank about me is because of those four letters and I’m proud of everything we accomplished there.”

“What I would tell you is that there were two things that were super important to me. Obviously, you want to be paid as much as you can get. We all want to make as much money as possible. It was very comparable in terms of what ESPN offered me to stay. ESPN offered me a 3-year extension, very nice raise. NBC also made a very generous offer, so the money was basically equal.”

With money not being the sole reason for the switch, Berry wanted to keep the Fantasy Life app and FantasyLife.com going, which was something he would not be able to do if he was still at ESPN.

“I have an entrepreneurial spirit…I wanted to continue my Fantasy Life stuff. I wanted to be able to keep doing that and building those businesses,” said Berry.

The other main reason for Berry going to NBC is that he wanted to be a part of the NFL coverage, an opportunity he was told he would have by being on Football Night in America Sunday nights during the season.

“I wanted to be a part of NFL coverage. I’ve always tried to push the ball forward in terms of fantasy analysis. I believe that when you are talking fantasy, you are talking NFL. All it is is you are just talking ball…At ESPN because ESPN is owned by Disney, the entrepreneurial stuff wasn’t going to be allowed and I just wasn’t going to be a part of NFL coverage there. That’s how they’ve set their company up and let’s be clear, they have done really, really well over the years. It’s important for me to be a part of NFL coverage to have fantasy truly be aligned.” 

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Sports TV News

Jenna Wolfe Departs ‘First Things First’

“I’m heading off to some other things,” Wolfe said during her announcement. “I have had an absolute blast here, minus not always knowing what day it was.

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First Things First host Jenna Wolfe announced her departure at the end of this morning’s show. Wolfe has co-hosted the show with Nick Wright and Kevin Wildes since 2017.

“I’m heading off to some other things,” Wolfe said during her announcement. “I have had an absolute blast here, minus not always knowing what day it was.

“What’s important is I will be watching you guys (Wright and Wildes) and I will be rooting for you guys. And for you at home, thank you so much for waking up with us every day. It meant the world to me. I will miss you. I will mis this.”

Wolfe, 48, ended her goodbye by saying “It’s Jordan. It was always Jordan,” in regards to the show’s frequent conversation about whether Michael Jordan or LeBron James is the greatest basketball player of all time.

The former TODAY Show host did not mention what future projects may be in store.

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Sports TV News

CBS Will Work Around New Big Ten, Outgoing SEC Contracts

Dellenger reports the Big Ten’s deal will allow CBS to air their final season of the SEC during the first year of the contract, but said details weren’t provided.

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In a wide-ranging story Thursday, Sports Illustrated‘s Ross Dellenger revealed a college football media nugget that many had questioned.

CBS, who is expected to announce an upcoming deal with the Big Ten, is reportedly “double booked” for their 3:30 ET games in 2023.

The SEC’s deal with CBS, which ends after the 2023 season, is an exclusive game aired at 3:30 ET. The Big Ten’s deal with CBS, which begins for the 2023 season, is an exclusive game aired at 3:30 ET. Dellenger reports the Big Ten’s deal will allow CBS to air their final season of the SEC during the first year of the contract, but said details weren’t provided.

The situation isn’t ideal for the Big Ten or it’s new media partners CBS, NBC, or Fox. NBC is alleged to have secured a primetime Big Ten game, so any workaround involving CBS would likely see the Big Ten featuring two games on network TV simultaneously, with either an additional game at Noon ET competing with Fox’s Big Noon Kickoff or in primetime competing against NBC’s newly acquired rights.

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