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CFP vs BCS TV ratings
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orangefan Online
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Post: #1
CFP vs BCS TV ratings
Now that the final tv ratings info is available for the 2018-19 bowl season, I've updated my analysis of the change in tv viewership between the BCS era and the CFP era.

My analysis compares the last four years of the BCS era with the first five years of the CFP era and the most recent three years of the CFP. The results are summarized in the chart below. My complete calculation and supporting date is provided in the attached spreadsheet.

[Image: attachment.php?aid=9726]

The highlights are as follows.

- For the NY6 bowls plus the National Championship game (7 total games), viewership is up under both CFP periods to 110 million from 96 million during the BCS period.
- For 26 bowls not part of the NY6 for which 9 years' of viewership data is available, viewership is down from 95 million during the BCS era to an average of 87 million during the first five years of the CFP era and to an average of 79.5 million during the most recent three year period.
- For 33 bowls for which 9 years' of viewership data is available, viewership was up from 191 million in the BCS era to 196 million during the first five years of the CFP era, but down to 190 million during the most recent three year period.

In general, it appears that the CFP format is helping the tv viewership of the major bowls and National Championship game, hurting the remaining games, with overall viewership of bowl games being relatively flat.


Attached File(s)
.xls  CFP vs BCS TV ratings.xls (Size: 160 KB / Downloads: 5)
.png  BCS v CFP.png (Size: 30.07 KB / Downloads: 223)
(This post was last modified: 01-11-2019 10:23 AM by orangefan.)
01-11-2019 10:21 AM
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1845 Bear Offline
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Post: #2
RE: CFP vs BCS TV ratings
Fair points assuming the same networks and time slots are used for BCS and NY6 games.
01-11-2019 11:04 AM
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orangefan Online
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RE: CFP vs BCS TV ratings
(01-11-2019 11:04 AM)1845 Bear Wrote:  Fair points assuming the same networks and time slots are used for BCS and NY6 games.

Time slots and networks shift annually. For instance, under the BCS system a number of the NY6 bowls were played on weeknights between New Years and the National Championship game. In addition, of course, New Years falls on a different day of the week each year. My assumption, though, is that collectively these represent reasonably comparable data sets, particularly because they are multi year averages.
01-11-2019 11:37 AM
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Post: #4
RE: CFP vs BCS TV ratings
(01-11-2019 11:37 AM)orangefan Wrote:  
(01-11-2019 11:04 AM)1845 Bear Wrote:  Fair points assuming the same networks and time slots are used for BCS and NY6 games.

Time slots and networks shift annually. For instance, under the BCS system a number of the NY6 bowls were played on weeknights between New Years and the National Championship game. In addition, of course, New Years falls on a different day of the week each year. My assumption, though, is that collectively these represent reasonably comparable data sets, particularly because they are multi year averages.

There's also more competition with the non-NY6 bowls as the number of bowls has increased. So there is some overlap on time slots, weaker time slots and weaker matchups.
01-11-2019 11:56 AM
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Stugray2 Offline
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Post: #5
RE: CFP vs BCS TV ratings
The CFP looks a little better on the top end than the BCS.

I would like to see a separation of the NY6+NCG as follows

NCG
NY6 Playoff
NY6 non-Playoff

It would be interesting to see if the non-playoff games are falling off. If a gap is forming, it would be a an argument for expansion to 8, with 4 of the NY6 being playoffs.
01-11-2019 02:29 PM
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OrangeDude Offline
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Post: #6
RE: CFP vs BCS TV ratings
(01-11-2019 02:29 PM)Stugray2 Wrote:  The CFP looks a little better on the top end than the BCS.

I would like to see a separation of the NY6+NCG as follows

NCG
NY6 Playoff
NY6 non-Playoff

It would be interesting to see if the non-playoff games are falling off. If a gap is forming, it would be a an argument for expansion to 8, with 4 of the NY6 being playoffs.

Interesting thought. But gap between what? Between each other since the CFP? Or between now and what they were under the old BCS system?

In any case, probably best to wait until after next year when each of the current NY6 bowls have held a semi-final game twice.

Cheers,
Neil
01-11-2019 03:25 PM
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Wedge Offline
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Post: #7
RE: CFP vs BCS TV ratings
(01-11-2019 11:37 AM)orangefan Wrote:  Time slots and networks shift annually. For instance, under the BCS system a number of the NY6 bowls were played on weeknights between New Years and the National Championship game.

The games played on post NYD weeknights usually had disappointing ratings. Getting out of those time slots was a big plus, ratings-wise.

Also, the Cotton and Peach bowls have received huge boosts by having better time slots, getting better matchups, and getting a semifinal once every three years. Those boosts alone make the entire "NY6" group look better than in the BCS period.
01-11-2019 03:39 PM
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orangefan Online
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Post: #8
RE: CFP vs BCS TV ratings
(01-11-2019 03:39 PM)Wedge Wrote:  
(01-11-2019 11:37 AM)orangefan Wrote:  Time slots and networks shift annually. For instance, under the BCS system a number of the NY6 bowls were played on weeknights between New Years and the National Championship game.

The games played on post NYD weeknights usually had disappointing ratings. Getting out of those time slots was a big plus, ratings-wise.

Also, the Cotton and Peach bowls have received huge boosts by having better time slots, getting better matchups, and getting a semifinal once every three years. Those boosts alone make the entire "NY6" group look better than in the BCS period.

The Cotton and Peach have not received boosts for their non-playoff year games. My calculation is that the only game that has received a boost is the Orange Bowl. All others, including the Peach and the Cotton have seen a decline.

[Image: attachment.php?aid=9731]


Attached File(s)
.png  non-playoff.png (Size: 9.61 KB / Downloads: 89)
(This post was last modified: 01-14-2019 11:53 AM by orangefan.)
01-14-2019 11:45 AM
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OrangeDude Offline
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Post: #9
RE: CFP vs BCS TV ratings
(01-14-2019 11:45 AM)orangefan Wrote:  
(01-11-2019 03:39 PM)Wedge Wrote:  
(01-11-2019 11:37 AM)orangefan Wrote:  Time slots and networks shift annually. For instance, under the BCS system a number of the NY6 bowls were played on weeknights between New Years and the National Championship game.

The games played on post NYD weeknights usually had disappointing ratings. Getting out of those time slots was a big plus, ratings-wise.

Also, the Cotton and Peach bowls have received huge boosts by having better time slots, getting better matchups, and getting a semifinal once every three years. Those boosts alone make the entire "NY6" group look better than in the BCS period.

The Cotton and Peach have not received boosts for their non-playoff year games. My calculation is that the only game that has received a boost is the Orange Bowl. All others, including the Peach and the Cotton have seen a decline.

[Image: attachment.php?aid=9731]

Depends upon how one views the data. If one looks at the 5 year averages pre-CFP and post CFP this isn't the case. When one eliminates the semi-final games, as you suggest above, it is the case. But when one eliminates the two highest rated games from the pre-CFP era as well as the semi-finals during the CFP, then the Cotton becomes a winner along with the Orange. Only the Peach is behind, and it is only a slight decline.

Obviously I don't think anyone would believe either the Cotton or the Peach made a mistake by choosing to be NY6 bowls. But data can be interpreted in many ways depending upon how the data is used.

Cheers,
Neil
(This post was last modified: 01-14-2019 12:58 PM by OrangeDude.)
01-14-2019 12:57 PM
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orangefan Online
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Post: #10
RE: CFP vs BCS TV ratings
(01-14-2019 12:57 PM)OrangeDude Wrote:  
(01-14-2019 11:45 AM)orangefan Wrote:  
(01-11-2019 03:39 PM)Wedge Wrote:  
(01-11-2019 11:37 AM)orangefan Wrote:  Time slots and networks shift annually. For instance, under the BCS system a number of the NY6 bowls were played on weeknights between New Years and the National Championship game.

The games played on post NYD weeknights usually had disappointing ratings. Getting out of those time slots was a big plus, ratings-wise.

Also, the Cotton and Peach bowls have received huge boosts by having better time slots, getting better matchups, and getting a semifinal once every three years. Those boosts alone make the entire "NY6" group look better than in the BCS period.

The Cotton and Peach have not received boosts for their non-playoff year games. My calculation is that the only game that has received a boost is the Orange Bowl. All others, including the Peach and the Cotton have seen a decline.

[Image: attachment.php?aid=9731]

Depends upon how one views the data. If one looks at the 5 year averages pre-CFP and post CFP this isn't the case. When one eliminates the semi-final games, as you suggest above, it is the case. But when one eliminates the two highest rated games from the pre-CFP era as well as the semi-finals during the CFP, then the Cotton becomes a winner along with the Orange. Only the Peach is behind, and it is only a slight decline.

Obviously I don't think anyone would believe either the Cotton or the Peach made a mistake by choosing to be NY6 bowls. But data can be interpreted in many ways depending upon how the data is used.

Cheers,
Neil

You are correct that the ratings for the 2009-2010 bowl season were, with a few exceptions, quite a bit higher than subsequent BCS seasons. However, I worry that the drop in viewership after that date is more related to the general decline and/or splintering of television audiences than to the shift from the BCS system to the CFP system. Indeed, that trend probably pollutes the data for the CFP era games generally to some extent. In that context, it is notable that the NY6 games have seen an overall increase in audience, even if those numbers are juiced by the addition of the semifinal games and that even the most recent three years are relatively flat compared to the last four BCS seasons.
(This post was last modified: 01-14-2019 01:42 PM by orangefan.)
01-14-2019 01:42 PM
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Post: #11
RE: CFP vs BCS TV ratings
(01-14-2019 01:42 PM)orangefan Wrote:  
(01-14-2019 12:57 PM)OrangeDude Wrote:  Depends upon how one views the data. If one looks at the 5 year averages pre-CFP and post CFP this isn't the case. When one eliminates the semi-final games, as you suggest above, it is the case. But when one eliminates the two highest rated games from the pre-CFP era as well as the semi-finals during the CFP, then the Cotton becomes a winner along with the Orange. Only the Peach is behind, and it is only a slight decline.

Obviously I don't think anyone would believe either the Cotton or the Peach made a mistake by choosing to be NY6 bowls. But data can be interpreted in many ways depending upon how the data is used.

Cheers,
Neil
You are correct that the ratings for the 2009-2010 bowl season were, with a few exceptions, quite a bit higher than subsequent BCS seasons. However, I worry that the drop in viewership after that date is more related to the general decline and/or splintering of television audiences than to the shift from the BCS system to the CFP system. Indeed, that trend probably pollutes the data for the CFP era games generally to some extent. In that context, it is notable that the NY6 games have seen an overall increase in audience, even if those numbers are juiced by the addition of the semifinal games and that even the most recent three years are relatively flat compared to the last four BCS seasons.

As with all things, time will tell. One other way to look at the data is take all of the CFP playoff games and NCs over the past 5 years and then compare them with the all of the BCS NCs games, the two best Rose, Sugar, and Orange Bowls as well as the best Cotton and the best Peach from the previous five years under the BCS system.

The CFP era 15 games total 354.660 million viewers while the BCS era 15 games total 281.556 million viewers. Also, when specifically looking at the semi-final games the current trend shows that when the semi-finals are actually played on NYD, they get great ratings. But the Rose and the Sugar are not likely to give up those premium time slots when they do not have the semi-final games. I am willing to bet the difference in that 15 game analysis would be much larger if they did. 03-wink

Cheers,
Neil
01-14-2019 03:00 PM
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Post: #12
RE: CFP vs BCS TV ratings
(01-14-2019 03:00 PM)OrangeDude Wrote:  
(01-14-2019 01:42 PM)orangefan Wrote:  
(01-14-2019 12:57 PM)OrangeDude Wrote:  Depends upon how one views the data. If one looks at the 5 year averages pre-CFP and post CFP this isn't the case. When one eliminates the semi-final games, as you suggest above, it is the case. But when one eliminates the two highest rated games from the pre-CFP era as well as the semi-finals during the CFP, then the Cotton becomes a winner along with the Orange. Only the Peach is behind, and it is only a slight decline.

Obviously I don't think anyone would believe either the Cotton or the Peach made a mistake by choosing to be NY6 bowls. But data can be interpreted in many ways depending upon how the data is used.

Cheers,
Neil
You are correct that the ratings for the 2009-2010 bowl season were, with a few exceptions, quite a bit higher than subsequent BCS seasons. However, I worry that the drop in viewership after that date is more related to the general decline and/or splintering of television audiences than to the shift from the BCS system to the CFP system. Indeed, that trend probably pollutes the data for the CFP era games generally to some extent. In that context, it is notable that the NY6 games have seen an overall increase in audience, even if those numbers are juiced by the addition of the semifinal games and that even the most recent three years are relatively flat compared to the last four BCS seasons.

As with all things, time will tell. One other way to look at the data is take all of the CFP playoff games and NCs over the past 5 years and then compare them with the all of the BCS NCs games, the two best Rose, Sugar, and Orange Bowls as well as the best Cotton and the best Peach from the previous five years under the BCS system.

The CFP era 15 games total 354.660 million viewers while the BCS era 15 games total 281.556 million viewers. Also, when specifically looking at the semi-final games the current trend shows that when the semi-finals are actually played on NYD, they get great ratings. But the Rose and the Sugar are not likely to give up those premium time slots when they do not have the semi-final games. I am willing to bet the difference in that 15 game analysis would be much larger if they did. 03-wink

Cheers,
Neil

I believe the Rose is safe on NYD, but the Sugar was shifted around regularly during the BCS era. I'm not sure why it couldn't be subject to similar shifting in the future.
01-14-2019 03:52 PM
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Post: #13
RE: CFP vs BCS TV ratings
(01-14-2019 03:52 PM)orangefan Wrote:  
(01-14-2019 03:00 PM)OrangeDude Wrote:  
(01-14-2019 01:42 PM)orangefan Wrote:  
(01-14-2019 12:57 PM)OrangeDude Wrote:  Depends upon how one views the data. If one looks at the 5 year averages pre-CFP and post CFP this isn't the case. When one eliminates the semi-final games, as you suggest above, it is the case. But when one eliminates the two highest rated games from the pre-CFP era as well as the semi-finals during the CFP, then the Cotton becomes a winner along with the Orange. Only the Peach is behind, and it is only a slight decline.

Obviously I don't think anyone would believe either the Cotton or the Peach made a mistake by choosing to be NY6 bowls. But data can be interpreted in many ways depending upon how the data is used.

Cheers,
Neil
You are correct that the ratings for the 2009-2010 bowl season were, with a few exceptions, quite a bit higher than subsequent BCS seasons. However, I worry that the drop in viewership after that date is more related to the general decline and/or splintering of television audiences than to the shift from the BCS system to the CFP system. Indeed, that trend probably pollutes the data for the CFP era games generally to some extent. In that context, it is notable that the NY6 games have seen an overall increase in audience, even if those numbers are juiced by the addition of the semifinal games and that even the most recent three years are relatively flat compared to the last four BCS seasons.

As with all things, time will tell. One other way to look at the data is take all of the CFP playoff games and NCs over the past 5 years and then compare them with the all of the BCS NCs games, the two best Rose, Sugar, and Orange Bowls as well as the best Cotton and the best Peach from the previous five years under the BCS system.

The CFP era 15 games total 354.660 million viewers while the BCS era 15 games total 281.556 million viewers. Also, when specifically looking at the semi-final games the current trend shows that when the semi-finals are actually played on NYD, they get great ratings. But the Rose and the Sugar are not likely to give up those premium time slots when they do not have the semi-final games. I am willing to bet the difference in that 15 game analysis would be much larger if they did. 03-wink

Cheers,
Neil

I believe the Rose is safe on NYD, but the Sugar was shifted around regularly during the BCS era. I'm not sure why it couldn't be subject to similar shifting in the future.

Because the Big 12 and SEC don't want it to be.
01-15-2019 12:35 PM
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