(CBS) The inaugural four-team College Football Playoff was a hit, with the two semifinal games on New Year’s Day setting a then-cable TV record for ratings.
Now ESPN is trying to keep it that way.
With the semifinals scheduled to be played on New Year’s Eve next season, ESPN is lobbying CFP officials to move those games to a different day, sportsbusinessdaily.com reported, so that they don’t have to compete against New Year’s countdown shows and lose viewers on a night that people traditionally go out on.
In addition to that, the NFL is also lobbying CFP officials to move its championship game off of the second Monday in January, because the NFL is considering expanding its playoff schedule and moving a wild-card game to that Monday night, according to sportsbusinessdaily.com.
The NFL has been considering adding two playoff teams for some time, though Steelers president Art Rooney II recently said he doesn’t expect that change to go into effect for the 2015 season.
To date, CFP officials have remained steadfast in saying their schedule won’t change.
“We’ve started a new tradition and we don’t want to back away from it now,” CFP executive director Bill Hancock told sportsbusinessdaily.com.
“We picked Monday night because it was open and it was the best night for our game. We announced that in June 2012. We established that our game was going to be on Monday night for 12 years.”
The report indicated ESPN president John Skipper has had a hand in the lobbying to move the semifinals. ESPN wants next season’s semifinals to move to Saturday, Jan. 2, a day that features little else for TV competition.
In its current rotation, the CFP semifinals will be held on New Year’s Eve two out of every three years. That’s because the Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl have big-money contracts to showcase their games on New Year’s Day afternoon and evening, respectively, and because the CFP semifinals are on a rotational basis between six bowls.