The College Football Playoff will still hold its semifinals on New Year’s Eve, with one minor change.
The semifinals will start an hour earlier than they did in 2015 with the Fiesta Bowl kicking off at 3 p.m. ET followed by the Peach Bowl at 7 p.m. ET, according to USA Today’s George Schroeder. The Orange Bowl was also bumped back from a noon kickoff on Dec. 31 to primetime on Dec. 30.
These slight modifications come after television ratings were down 40 percent from the 2014 semifinals.
“We looked at the landscape and we’re confident it will let more fans watch the games,” CFP executive director Bill Hancock said in a statement. “In looking at the data, we found that ending the games earlier would let people watch the games and still enjoy their New Year’s Eve festivities.”
The Playoff could also afford some more competitive games in 2016. Last year, Clemson outscored Oklahoma 21-0 in the second half en route to a comfortable 37-17 Orange Bowl win in the first semifinal. Clemson’s boring victory was followed up by Alabama’s 38-0 rout over Michigan State in a game that probably had fans bolting for their NYE plans a bit earlier than anticipated.