Alabama’s win in the Orange Bowl over Oklahoma delivered a 10.4 overnight rating, edging out the 10.3 overnight rating from Clemson’s victory over Notre Dame earlier in the afternoon in the Cotton Bowl.
Birmingham was the top market for both games. More than half of the viewing area watched the Orange Bowl with a 51.3 rating. Tulsa and Oklahoma City were next, with ratings of 31.5 and 30.7, respectively.
Birmingham also delivered a 31.3 rating for the Cotton Bowl. That was slightly ahead of a 26.4 rating in Greenville, South Carolina. The Greenville market delivered a 23.3 rating for the Orange Bowl.
Ratings for both games were down from 2017, when the semifinal games were played on New Year’s Day. Alabama’s win against Clemson had a 12.5 rating last year while Georgia’s shootout victory over Oklahoma was good for a 14.8 rating.
Still, the ratings for this year’s Orange Bowl and Cotton Bowl will place them among the top six highest-rated cable programs of 2018. The 2017 playoff games and championship, all of which were played after New Year’s in 2018, are also among the top six programs for this calendar year.
The viewership for the Orange Bowl and Cotton Bowl were also up from the last time those bowl games hosted College Football Playoff semifinals. The Orange Bowl was up four percent from 2015 while the Cotton Bowl was up five percent.