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The College Football Playoff airing on New Year's Eve cost ESPN millions of TV viewers

TV ratings for the Playoff semifinals were much higher a year ago.

The overnight ratings are in, and they spell disaster for College Football Playoff games on New Year's Eve, at least, as far as television goes. Viewership for the semifinals dropped by more than 36 percent as fans turned away from blowout bowl matchups on Dec. 31.

However, there was a silver lining at ESPN. The bowl games drew big numbers to the network's online streaming app.

This wasn't exactly ESPN's idea. The games were on New Year's Eve because the conferences agreed to keep the Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl on New Year's Day, whether they're semifinals or not.

In the end, a pair of blowouts and the lure of New Year's Eve parties proved too much competition for the College Football Playoff semifinals. Not even the promise of a dancing Nick Saban could improve viewership between 2015 and 2016.

As SB Nation contributor Rodger Sherman pointed out, the lack of a federal holiday made the games inaccessible for many potential viewers.

This could create some major problems for the Playoff in the future. The semifinals are currently scheduled for Dec. 31 in three of the next four years.