Michigan's victory over Washington draws biggest national championship TV audience since 2020

Michigan played in the three most-watched games of the 2023 season

Michigan’s national title game win over Washington on Monday night was also a win for ESPN.

ESPN said Tuesday that the Wolverines’ 34-13 win over the Huskies averaged just over 25 million viewers and was the most-watched national title game since LSU took down Clemson in January of 2020. Monday night's game drew almost eight million more viewers than Georgia’s 65-7 win over TCU a season ago.

Last season’s title game was the least-watched national championship since the BCS began in 1999 largely because of Georgia’s first-half domination of the Horned Frogs. The Bulldogs led the game 38-7 at halftime and you can bet that millions across the country turned the channel and didn’t look back.

An increase from last year’s game was inevitable no matter who was playing in the game. And it reasons that more people watched the title game than they had in four years because two new teams were playing. Both Michigan and Washington were making their first title game appearances in either the playoff or BCS era. And there’s no denying the fan following Michigan has.

Monday night’s game will end up as the second-most watched game of the season behind Michigan’s overtime win over Alabama in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1. That game drew over 27 million viewers in the Rose Bowl’s traditional early-evening New Year’s Day time slot.

The Wolverines also played in the most-watched game of the regular season. Over 19 million watched Michigan beat Ohio State in the final week of the regular season.

Next year’s College Football Playoff will feature 12 teams instead of four and will have a much later finale because of the increased number of games. After the first round of games will be played before Christmas, the quarterfinals will be held on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. The semifinals will be on Jan. 9 and Jan. 10 and the title game will be on Jan. 20, a day that’s both Inauguration Day and Martin Luther King Jr. Day.