College Football Playoff tweaks dates in upcoming seasons

Hancock on CFB playoff: We can do better than New Year's Eve (1:33)

College Football Playoff executive director Bill Hancock explains why he decided to move semifinal games so they don't occur on New Year's Eve. (1:33)

All College Football Playoff semifinal games will be played on Saturdays or holidays after the event saw ratings plummet on New Year's Eve last season.

The dates have been changed for the semifinal games in the 2018, 2019, 2024 and 2025 seasons.

CFP executive director Bill Hancock said the drop in viewership combined with what he called "a simple and elegant alternative" was enough to sway the management committee to change the dates.

"Once we settled on this as the best possible alternative, then the rest of the dominoes fell," he said.

Hancock said he had heard from college football fans across the country, fans he sees in church and at the grocery store.

"I did hear from several who said, 'Bill, stay with it,'" he said. "But most said, 'It just doesn't work for me.'"

Following the national championship game, Hancock said the CFP realized it needed to review the data and be deliberate and open to change.

"Over the next few months, we did that," he said. "We just took our time, looked at the data and realized that we had tried to do something special on New Year's Eve, but we could do better. I'm so happy because this is so great for the fans."

The semifinals will remain on one weekday New Year's Eve -- Friday, Dec. 31, 2021 -- which will be the federally observed New Year's holiday.

The Orange, Rose and Sugar Bowls will host semifinal games through at least the 2024 season. The CFP will determine the remaining semifinal sites for the 2021 season and thereafter some time in 2018.

This season's semifinals will be played on Dec. 31, a Saturday.

Hancock was asked if the CFP had purposely avoided New Years Day in seasons other than when Rose/Sugar hosted.

"We wanted to honor the traditions of the game, including the Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl," he said.

He also said the CFP considered having the semifinals on different days.

"We considered several options, one of which was having the semifinals on different days, but we concluded that wouldn't be fair because one team would have an additional day to prepare," he said.