NFL Championship Games Attract Over 50 Million Viewers

Photo courtesy of Dave Adamson via Unsplash

NFL Championship Games Attract Over 50 Million Viewers

By Movieguide® Contributor

NFL TV ratings reached new highs during last Sunday’s AFC and NFC Championship games.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, “The primetime NFC Championship game averaged nearly 56.32 million viewers for Fox (a slight downward adjustment from the 56.69 million in early numbers). The audience peaked at almost 59 million viewers (58.97 million) from 9:15-9:30 p.m. ET, late in the San Francisco 49ers’ 34-31 victory over the Detroit Lions.”

“CBS’ broadcast of the AFC Championship earlier Sunday — a 17-10 win by the Kansas City Chiefs over the Baltimore Ravens — brought in 55.47 million viewers. Sunday was the first time since 2014 that both conference championship games averaged more than 50 million viewers (with the caveat that out-of-home ratings weren’t part of Nielsen’s same-day reporting until 2020),” the outlet added.

Before Sunday’s contests, FOX had the biggest viewership for the NFC Championship, with 57.64 million viewers tuning in to the New York Giants overtime win against the 49ers.

CBS holds the AFC Championship viewership record, with 53.12 million views during last year’s battle between the Chiefs and the Cincinnati Bengals.

This year, the NFL averaged 38.5 million viewers per playoff game, the most the League has ever had.

Per Yahoo! Sports, “Overall viewership for this year’s 12 playoff games increased by 9 percent over last year, and each round of the playoffs saw its ratings increase from a year ago: The wild card round averaged 31.2 million viewers (an 8 percent increase from last year), the divisional round averaged 40.0 million (a 7 percent increase) and the conference championship games averaged 56.1 million (an 11 percent increase).”

This huge increase also included a playoff game between the Miami Dolphins and the Chiefs, which streamed exclusively on Peacock.

To make that number even more impressive, playoff games averaged a 53.3 share, which means “all Americans who were watching TV while an NFL playoff game was on, 53.3 percent of them were watching the game.”

Super Bowl LVIII hopes to attract more than 115.1 million viewers, as that was last year’s total.

Movieguide® recently reported on the NFL’s high TV ratings:

The NFL secured 93 of the top 100 TV broadcasts in 2023, a number up from the 82 the league landed in 2022.

The other seven most-watched TV broadcasts included the Academy Awards, the State of the Union Address, the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, college football games and the Super Bowl.

Per Sports Pro Media, “Topping this year’s list was Fox’s coverage of the Kansas City Chiefs’ Super Bowl LVII victory over the Philadelphia Eagles on 12th February, which attracted 115.1 million viewers. The competition’s showpiece game was markedly ahead of any other broadcast, with the AFC Championship game between the Chiefs and Cincinnati Bengals on CBS coming closest with a viewership of 53.12 million.”

The 2023 regular season secured an average of 17.9 million viewers per game.

The NFL gained viewership largely due to the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes, which postponed much of the fall’s original content broadcasting season.

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