Nick Saban and the University of Alabama weren’t the only ones licking their wounds Monday night.
The Crimson Tide’s 44-16 drubbing by the Clemson Tigers in Monday’s national championship game also sacked ESPN’s ratings hopes, as the lopsided game led to a 13 percent drop in the overnight ratings with a 14.6 in the metered markets.
That number incorporates the viewers across ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, and ESPNEWS (the network aired the game on multiple networks as part of its annual “Megacast” but ESPN Classic and SEC Network are not Nielsen rated).
The 28-point margin of victory was the largest in the brief history on the College Football Playoff National Championship game. The game appeared to be on its way to another classic between the two schools, who met in the title game for the third time in the last four years, with a 14-13 score at the end of the first quarter. The game peaked with a 16.2 rating in the second quarter, and by halftime Clemson already had the game in hand leading 31-16.
Last year’s matchup, which also featured Alabama, posted a 16.7 rating in the early results. However, that game featured a thrilling comeback by Alabama to defeat their SEC rival Georgia Bulldogs in overtime. That game ended up drawing 28.4 million viewers across its multiple networks.
ESPN will have viewership numbers later on Tuesday.