ESPN’s College Football Championship Inches Up From Last Year With 25.6 Million Viewers

LSU smothered Clemson 42-25, who was on the other side of a big 44-16 win in 2019

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LSU’s 42-25 victory over defending champion Clemson in the battle of the Tigers drew 25.6 million viewers, a slight 1% rise from last year’s game.

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). Of that audience, 25 million watched on ESPN, which was up 3% from the ESPN-only audience from the 2019 championship game.

The Megacast viewership peaked at 29.2 million around halftime, after LSU took the lead for the first time late in the second quarter (9:45 p.m.-10 p.m. ET). LSU would never again trail in the game. The game featured the likely top draft pick in this year’s NFL draft, LSU quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrows. On the other side of the field, Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence is widely seen as the top prospect for the 2021 NFL draft.

The LSU Tigers’ 17 point margin of victory was still not as big as Clemson’s 44-16 blowout of Alabama a year ago, which drew 25.3 million viewers. That was the largest margin of victory (28 points) in the CFP Championship’s short history.

Once out-of-home and streaming viewing data come in, ESPN expects the LSU-Clemson title game to beat all three Clemson-Alabama matchups in the National Championship game (3 of the previous 4 years). That would make Monday’s game the third most-watched CFP National Championship since its inception in the 2014 season (Jan. 2015).