Sometimes, it pays to wait and watch, biding your time until you can show the world just what you can do.
ATLANTA — The national championship showdown between Alabama and Georgia drew 28.443 million viewers for ESPN, making it the second-most watched title game in the four years of the College Football Playoff format.
Alabama beat Georgia in overtime , rallying from 13 points down in the second half before winning with a game-ending touchdown pass . Viewership for the all-Southeastern Conference matchup on Monday night in Atlanta was up 13 per cent from last season’s Clemson-Alabama rematch from the season before, ESPN said Tuesday.
ESPN said the audience peaked late in the first half at around 30 million viewers and more than 28.4 million were watching when the winning touchdown was scored.
“The record-breaking audiences, over the course of multiple years, clearly reinforce how the College Football Playoff has quickly established itself as an elite event,” said Burke Magnus, ESPN executive vice-president, programming and scheduling.
The first CFP championship game between Oregon and Ohio State after the 2014 season drew nearly 34 million viewers, a record for ESPN. This season’s CFP semifinals on Jan. 1 and the championship game averaged more than 26.2 million viewers, up 21 per cent from last year. The semifinals were played on Dec. 31 the last two seasons.
The New Year’s Six bowls and championship game drew an average of 17 million viewers, the most in four years of the format. The seven-game average viewership increased 10 per cent from last year’s seven games, and it was up 25 per cent from 2015, ESPN said.
The legend of Tagovailoa was years in the making, of course, and has roots in Polynesia, with a nod to Marcus Mariota, the Heisman Trophy winner three years ago. “To the Polynesian community, I hope and pray that this is only the beginning,” Mariota said as he accepted the award that night in 2014. “Young Poly athletes everywhere, you should take this as motivation, and dream big and strive for greatness.”