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TV Ratings: NFL Championship Games Draw Huge Audiences

The second biggest NFL day of the year very much lived up to that moniker on Sunday.

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.

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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).

Fox scored the biggest audience for the NFC title game since 2012, when the New York Giants’ overtime win over the 49ers brought in 57.64 million viewers. It improved by 6 percent vs. last year’s primetime conference title game (the AFC Championship on CBS, which drew 53.12 million people) and by almost 19 percent over the 2023 NFC Championship (47.5 million), which aired in the afternoon.

CBS, meanwhile, had the most watched AFC title game ever, posting 17 percent gains over the afternoon NFC title game in the same broadcast a year ago and 4 percent over the 2023 AFC contets.

Local markets for the NFC game saw massive tune-in. In Detroit, the game had a 46.3 household rating and 79 share, while in San Francisco, it was 30.5/78 — meaning that in both cities, more than three quarters of TV sets were watching the game during its broadcast window.

Following the NFC championship and post-game, 7.24 million people watched the season premiere of Next Level Chef on Fox. That’s the biggest same-day audience for an unscripted broadcast series since last year’s Next Level Chef premiere, which followed the Super Bowl.

Jan. 30, 9:03 a.m. Updated with final ratings for both conference championship games.

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