Sports News Without Access, Favor, Or Discretion

College Football Playoff Caves To ESPN, Sanity; Semifinal Games Move To Weekends And Holidays

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.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter

About the author

Timothy Burke

Timothy Burke is formerly Deadspin's Video Director.

PGP Fingerprint: CDD8 B3DD 3565 1540 B1F9 4D63 D2B5 398E 0CAF 2F9CPGP Key
OTR Fingerprint: 69085D53 4F369233 EA007F99 B4926AAD 8C458956