AFC and NFC title game viewership drops
January 22, 2013
Sunday’s AFC and NFC championship games drew the biggest crowds on television since the 2012 Super Bowl.
But they were down notably from last year’s broadcasts.
The AFC Championship, which aired at 6:30 p.m. on CBS and bled into primetime, averaged 47.7 million total viewers, according to Nielsen, well behind the 57.6 million who tuned into the NFC Championship at the same time last year on Fox.
In fact, this year’s AFC title game also scored slightly fewer viewers than last year’s game, which aired in the traditionally lower-rated afternoon window and drew 48.7 million viewers.
Granted, last year’s game did have the biggest audience for an afternoon AFC Championship in 30 years, but it continued the trend of ratings declines for the NFL seen in both the regular season and the postseason this year.
Fox’s NFC Championship coverage at 3 p.m., meanwhile, drew 42 million, also off from last year’s afternoon game and well down from the aforementioned primetime NFC matchup that the New York Giants won in overtime last year.
The ratings were still very strong, despite the year-to-year losses, and the NFL postseason boasted five games that averaged 35 million or more viewers so far, tying last year’s record.
The AFC champion Baltimore Ravens and NFC champion San Francisco 49ers will meet in the Super Bowl on Feb. 3 on CBS.
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