CFP might move semifinals off New Year’s Eve

Detroit News staff and wires
Alabama beat Michigan State last year in the Cotton Bowl, which was one of the semifinal games.

Hoover, Ala. — The College Football Playoff will consider moving future semifinals off New Year’s Eve if it can help increase viewership.

Executive director Bill Hancock told reporters at SEC Media Days the conference commissioners who make up the playoff management committee are open to changing future schedules, starting in 2019.

The first College Football Playoff after the 2014 season drew record television ratings for ESPN when the semifinals were played on New Year’s Day. The first game, the Rose Bowl, kicked off around 5:30 p.m. ET.

TV ratings dropped 36 percent for the semifinals played after last season when the games kicked off at similar times on New Year’s Eve.

In last year’s semifinals, Clemson defeated Oklahoma in the first game, which began at 4 p.m., and Alabama beat Michigan State in the second game, which had an 8 p.m. start.

This season’s semifinals – the Peach Bowl and the Fiesta Bowl – are on New Year’s Eve again.

Hancock says alternatives to New Year’s Eve are being explored.

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