Photo credit: Diane Bondareff/Associated Press

The College Football Playoff semifinals are abandoning New Year’s Eve, mostly, after this past year’s disaster that saw ratings plummet 36% and forced ESPN to issue free make-good ads during the national championship game.


The CFP is sticking with this upcoming season’s Saturday New Year’s Eve games—it’s too late to change those—and also plans to hold the semifinals on that low-viewership night in 2021 and 2022. (We expect ESPN to push the CFP off those dates, as well, but here’s what they issued today.)

You’ll recall earlier this year that CFP kommisar Bill Hancock blanched at any consideration to move the semifinals off a night when most people are engaging in amateur overconsumption. But ESPN’s paying them $600 million a year for the broadcast rights, and with that kind of money comes a very heavy negotiating hand.