Hancock: 'Too soon to say' what tweaks could come to playoff

Updated Mar. 4, 2020 12:28 p.m. ET

GREENVILLE, N.C. (AP) College Football Playoff executive director Bill Hancock said Tuesday that it's still ''too soon to say'' if any other adjustments could come to the event's schedule.

Hancock spoke at East Carolina as part of the school's annual sports business leadership lecture.

The CFP earlier this month said it would move the Orange Bowl to prime time on Dec. 30 and start the New Year's Eve semifinals one hour earlier. Television ratings for the Dec. 31 semifinals this past season were down about 35 percent from the 2014 season, when they were played on Jan. 1.

Stressing that those moves were for this year only, Hancock said, ''We did what we said we were going to do, which was look at things after the games this year.''

The semifinals were played on New Year's Eve for the first time this past season, with the afternoon Oklahoma-Clemson Orange Bowl drawing a 9.1 television rating - a 38.5 percent drop compared to the previous season's Rose Bowl semifinal (14.8). The evening semifinal - the Michigan State-Alabama Cotton bowl - drew a 9.6 rating for ESPN compared to 15.2 for the previous season's Sugar Bowl semifinal.

Total viewership dropped 34.4 percent, going from 28,271,000 for the first season of the playoff to 18,552,000 in the second.

The original schedule also had the Orange Bowl as the first game in a New Year's Eve tripleheader, but it was bumped up a day so it could keep its traditional evening time slot.


In the 2018 season, the Sugar and Rose bowl semifinals will be played on New Year's Day.

''The bottom line is, we want to make the games as easy for fans to watch as we possibly can,'' Hancock said. ''Whatever ways we need to do that, we're going to try to do that. So I felt very good about the action that we took. We'll just see what the future holds.''


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