Bad ratings for the College Football Playoffs potentially cost ESPN $20 million

ESPN suffered a huge hit this year, as the College Football Playoff's ratings fell off of a cliff compared to last year's version of the semifinal games. After being an enormous success on New Year's Day for the 2014-15 Playoffs, the Playoff games saw a massive drop that most likely coincided with the games being played on New Year's Eve for the 2015-16 season.

Well, how much did those ratings shortfalls cost the four-letter network? Potentially as much as $20 million just in advertising makegoods, according to one report.

From Broadcasting & Cable:

Despite the efforts of the College Football Playoff committee and some media outlets downplaying the financial hit ESPN took by being forced to televise the two national championship semi-final games on New Year's Eve, media buyers say the network owes upwards of $20 million in ad makegoods for ratings shortfalls for the two games.

If true, this puts exponentially more pressure on ESPN and the College Football Playoff in coming seasons. The Playoff committee has already said that they have no plans to take the semifinal games off of New Year's Eve in the future, but that could change if the pressure from advertisers becomes too much for ESPN.

Money powers television. While the Playoff committee might think that this year's ratings were an aberration, they will soon be forced to do something if the money starts to fall well below expectations.

[h/t College Spun]