via press release:
SAINTS/CARDINALS & VIKINGS/COWBOYS
DIVSIONAL CONTESTS POWER RATINGS ON FOX
Sunday’s Early Game on FOX Out-Rates Late Window for First Time in Four Years
2010 NFC Playoffs Post Largest Average Audience Ever on FOX
The dominating performances by the Vikings and Saints helped propel NFL on FOX’s Divisional playoff weekend to impressive ratings and viewership heights.
The weekend was highlighted by an enormous 22.0/44 (37.7 million viewers) for FOX's Sunday playoff broadcast between the Dallas Cowboys and Minnesota Vikings at 1:00 PM. Sunday's rating is +18% better than last year's 18.7/38 (Eagles-Giants) in the same window and marks the first time in four years that the early Sunday Divisional contest earned a higher rating than the game in the advantageous late window (20.1/35, Jets-Chargers.) Sunday’s rating is also the highest for a 1:00 PM Divisional on FOX since 1996's 25.4/48 for Eagles-Cowboys.
Minneapolis led all markets on Sunday with a sensational 48.4/82, followed by New Orleans (41.4/61). Dallas placed third averaging a 40.4/71.
On Saturday, the Cardinals and Saints squared-off at the Superdome and earned a 16.1/32 (27.9 mill.) for their Divisional playoff on FOX. Despite the one-sided victory by the Saints, Saturday’s game was up +17% over last year's 13.8/23 (23.8 mill) on FOX for Cardinals-Panthers in primetime and up +5% over last year's comparable 15.4/29 (25.4 mill) on CBS (Ravens-Titans.)
New Orleans led all markets Saturday with a sensational 57.2/79, the highest local rating ever for a divisional playoff on FOX. Looking ahead to this weekend, New Orleans has a chance to post the highest local rating ever for an NFC Championship Game. The current record is a 59.5 in Milwaukee in 1997.
Through the Divisional round, the 2010 NFC on FOX PLAYOFFS are the most-watched in the network’s history. The three games to date have averaged a 19.2/36 and 33.3 million viewers, the largest average viewership ever on FOX and the largest for either the NFC or AFC Playoffs since FOX became an NFL broadcaster. The +14% ratings gain over last year's 16.8/30 and is FOX's best playoff average in six years (19.7/37 in 2004.)