Comparing CFB National Championship Ratings to Seinfeld Ratings and other Major TV Events

by Josh Lanier
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Ratings weren’t great for the College Football National Championship Game. In fact, they were downright abysmal compared to other seasons.

More than 18 million people watched Alabama rout Ohio State 52-24. That’s 7 million fewer watchers from last year and the lowest viewership in a decade, The Hollywood Reporter said. Even the College Football Semifinals on New Years Day did better than the championship. That could be because Alabama and Ohio State have been six of the previous seven National Championship games. Having the same handful of teams battling it out for the title gets old, apparently.

So, how does this game stack up against other major television events? Spoiler alert, not great.

2021 National Championship versus TV history

The ‘Seinfeld’ Finale — 1998

(Photo by Joey Delvalle/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images)

Seinfeld‘s two-part finale in 1998 was one of the biggest television events of the past 30 years. It was required viewing for most American households. NBC even played it on one of the massive screens in Times Square. In all, 76 million people tuned in for the episodes featuring the “Good Samaritan” trial for the show’s four lead characters.

The 60 million more viewers for Seinfeld is almost as lopsided as Alabama’s win.

‘Home Improvement’ Finale — 1999

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(Photo by Walt Disney Television via Getty Images Photo Archives/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images)

More than 35 million people tuned in to say goodbye to the Taylor family for the finale of Home Improvement. The episode titled “Long and Winding Road: Part 3” featured Al getting married in Tim’s backyard and the Taylor family reconsidering their move from Michigan.

Tim Allen recently resurrected the Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor character for the new final season of his show Last Man Standing. That episode, which aired on Jan. 7, drew in 3.7 million viewers, which was a major bump for the show’s normal audience of around 2.5 million.

The Lowest-Rated Super Bowl — 2019

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(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Fewer tuned in to watch the New England Patriots beat the LA Rams in the 2019 Super Bowl than any other NFL title game since 2008. Not only that, it was one of the most boring Super Bowls in recent memory. The Patriots won 13-3 in a slog of a game.

So, how many people tuned in? Nearly 100 million. Super Bowl 53’s 98.2 million person audience is more than 5 times that of the National Championship game.

The ‘Roseanne’ Reboot — 2018

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(Adam Rose via Getty Images)

Roseanne‘s return to the ABC primetime lineup was one of the biggest network television events in recent years. But despite that, network television doesn’t have the draw it once did. So, did Bama beat Barr? No.

Roseanne drew in 21 million viewers — that later fled the show — for its 2018 reboot. That’s three million more than watched Ohio State get trounced. But the Buckeyes offense was a bigger joke than anything the sitcom had to offer.

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