The new College Football Playoff succeeded in drawing a larger television audience to the championship game.
Ohio State's 42-20 victory over Oregon on Monday averaged nearly 33.4 million viewers on ESPN. The network said Tuesday that's up 31 percent from the almost 25.6 million for Florida State's win over Auburn last year in the final title game of the BCS era.
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The biggest audience for the four championships that had aired on ESPN was 27.3 million for the 2011 matchup between Auburn and Oregon.
The 18.2 rating Monday was the second-highest for a title game, behind the massive 21.7 for the 2006 classic between Texas and Southern Cal in the Rose Bowl.
The two semifinals had already drawn more viewers than any of the four championships on ESPN, making for the largest audiences in cable TV history before Monday's game.
Ratings represent the percentage of homes with TVs tuned to a program.
ESPN is owned by The Walt Disney Co.