Cinemark Expands ESPN College Football Playoffs Deal For In-Theater Viewing

Continuing to find new ways to bring in consumers to their sometimes empty cinemas, movie theater chain Cinemark is expanding its deal with ESPN to more of its theaters in offering end-of-the-year bowl games.

Viewers can reserve a seat in theaters by purchasing a $10 concession package, which includes a ticket and concession credits, for each of three College Football Playoff games -- the semifinal games and the championship game.

This year's semifinal game at Vrbo Fiesta Bowl will feature Michigan versus TCU (December 31); the other semifinal game on the same day -- the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl -- will feature Georgia versus Ohio State.

The winner will play in the "College Football Playoff National Championship, Presented by AT&T" on January 9.

Cinemark did not disclose financial specifics of the ESPN deal. But it did say 70 theaters would show the games this year. Last season the games were seen in 28 theaters -- including four local markets for each of the teams.



Cinemark operates 517 theaters with 5,835 screens in 42 U.S. states.

Last season's championship game, held In January of this year, featured Georgia beating Alabama 33-18 and earning a Nielsen-measured 22.6 million TV viewers on ESPN networks -- up 19% from the year before.

In the semifinal games, the Alabama-Cincinnati contest scored 16.7 million TV viewers, with Michigan-Georgia registering 17.2 million viewers.

This story has been updated.

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