NEW YORK — It’s a small consolation, but the Georgia-Oklahoma college football championship semi-final was a more popular television event than the much-anticipated game between Clemson and Alabama.

The Nielsen company said that a little more than 26 million people watched the Georgia-Oklahoma game on ESPN on New Year’s Day. It was a more competitive game than Alabama-Clemson, which reached 20.6 million, Nielsen said.

Alabama had the last laugh, winning the national championship Monday night over Georgia in an overtime thriller.