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TV ratings dip for CFP championship on ESPN; streaming up

By The Associated Press
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TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — The College Football Championship rematch between Clemson and Alabama drew 680,000 fewer viewers on TV and online than last year's game, though combined viewership for all the New Year's Six bowls and title game was up 15 percent, ESPN said Tuesday.

Clemson's 35-31 victory against Alabama on Monday night got a 14.7 overnight rating for ESPN and a 15.3 rating for ESPN's MegaCast, which combines viewers for ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU. Last year's title game, won 45-40 by Alabama, drew a 15.8 overnight rating for ESPN and a 16.0 for the MegaCast.

The online streaming audience for Tigers-Tide II was up 21 percent, with an average audience of 710,000 viewers.

Overall, last year's game drew 26,709,000 viewers, while this year's got 26,029,000, ESPN said.

The total live audience for the two semifinal games and championship game increased 9 percent this season to 22,230,000 viewers. Rating and viewership for last season's semifinals, played on Dec. 31, which fell on a Thursday, plunged when compared with the record-breaking numbers ESPN drew in the playoffs the first season, when the semifinals were played on New Year's Day.

This season, viewership for the semifinals got a boost because New Year's Eve fell on a Saturday, though both games were blowouts.

The total live audience for the entire seven-game package that includes the New Year's Six and championship game drew an average of 16,044,000 viewers, compared with 14,004,000 last year.

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More AP college football: www.collegefootball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

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