Conference Championship Games Most-Watched Shows Since Super Bowl

Categories: Network TV Press Releases

Written By

January 21st, 2013

via press release:







The AFC and NFC Championship Games ranked as TV’s most-watched programs since Super Bowl XLVI.


The Baltimore Ravens-New England Patriots AFC Championship Game on CBS drew 47.7 million viewers, based on The Nielsen Company’s Fast National ratings. The San Francisco 49ers-Atlanta Falcons NFC Championship Game on FOX drew 42.0 million viewers. This marks the fourth consecutive year that each conference championship game drew 41 million viewers.


Five 2012 playoff games averaged at least 35 million viewers – tying the record set last year.


Since the Summer Olympics, nine NFL games have accounted for the only programs on television to reach 30 million viewers – four Divisional playoff games, two Conference Championship Games, two Wild Card playoff games, and the final Sunday Night Football game.

  • jj

    NFC title game is way down from last year. Almost 14 million less viewers.

  • jj

    I bet the SuperBowl will be down. Maybe under 100 million.

  • TomSFBay

    Niner fan here.

    I bet the Super Bowl will attract a record audience. The Har-Bowl angle, coupled with teams on the East and West coast and what will most likely be a close match between two very good teams will assure another ratings record.

    Also, you can’t really compare conference championships year to year without factoring in the early and late air times. This years AFC Championship aired in the same slot as last year’s NFC Championship.

  • Christian

    NFC title game was in Fox primetime last year though; don’t know if that is one of the factors why it’s down.

  • Christian

    oops TomSFBay already brought it up, lol

  • Ultima

    NFC title game was in Fox primetime last year though; don’t know if that is one of the factors why it’s down.

    Last year both games were extremely close, with both games going back and forth and no team ever holding a lead of more than 7 points. One game ended on a missed field goal with seconds left, the other went into overtime.

    That wasn’t the case this year. While the 49ers did mount a big comeback to win, the two losing teams combined for a total of zero second half points…

  • jj


    I get it dude. You’re a Niners fan but think clearly for a bit. There is absolutely no way on God’s green earth this SB will set a record. You’re delusional. Casual fans don’t give a damn about the coaches. San Fran is not nearly as popular as the NY Giants and Ravens are not as popular as the Pats. Plus this game looks to be boring. I say it will be lucky to just get over 100 million. Last year it was 113 million if i’m not mistaken. No way it breaks that or gets even close.

  • Flame

    While it might not draw a record number, I guess the first time “Brother Battle” will draw viewers and the 49ers are in it – which are still one of those three “most known teams” worldwide, next to the Dallas Cowboys and the Oakland Raiders. So with them being back in the Bowl with their history should be interesting to football fans. (Not a Niner myself, rather a frustrated Jet and on Team Ravens for the Bowl.)

  • TomSFBay

    Has nothing to do with being a Niner fan. Look at the trend since 2005, when the Patriots/Eagles game drew an audience of 86 million. It has gone up every single year since, breaking the previous year’s viewing record each time.

    While there is a chance it may not top last year’s 113 million, a nine year trend indicates that it will. Even if it does not, going over 100 million viewers is virtually a guarantee.

  • romo

    Last year was 111,346,000.

  • jp

    Great numbers for both games. CBS will get at least 110 million viewers for the SUPER BOWL.

  • iggy agrimotor

    The NFL peaked last season.

  • Jerry Styles

    It sounds like another successful year for the NFL and that is asking a lot to match the last couple of record seasons.

    FOX has gotten real lucky that their last couple of title games went into overtime and the AFC ones on CBS were done before mid-way through the 4th quarter.

    Super Bowl should clear another 110 million, not expecting a record number but the SB keeps getting bigger every year so its possible and actually this year’s game should be bigger than last year’s since there are a couple of big casual viewer friendly storylines like the Harbaugh brothers and Ray Lewis’ last game.

  • Ultima

    @iggy agrimotor
    The NFL peaked last season.

    In terms of ratings, the NFL peaked during the 80s.

  • DW

    it will be average ratings at best. the world doesn’t clamor for the 9ers and people dont really care for the a-hole brother. on the other hand people will come for the grate dancing and grate speeches by ray Lewis. that and people like to bet on the game. and no i didn’t misspell grate. :)

  • Pundit

    Actually the NFL never enjoyed bigger audiences. Sunday Night Football numbers torch the old ABC Monday Night Football numbers. Maybe your personal interest in football peaked in the 1980s and you are projecting.

  • DW

    and average i mean average super bowl numbers.

  • Ultima

    Actually the NFL never enjoyed bigger audiences.

    Do you even know what a rating is?

    Sunday Night Football numbers torch the old ABC Monday Night Football numbers.

    Nonsense. NBC’s Sunday Night Football had its best season last year with a 12.9 HH rating average (it was a 12.8 this season); while better than ABC during their final years with Monday Night Football, it pales in comparison to Monday Night Football through the 80s and early 90s, when it would average a 17.0+ HH rating every year.

    Maybe your personal interest in football peaked in the 1980s and you are projecting.

    Are these projections? 8 of the 10 highest rated Super Bowls occured within a nine year period from 1978 through 1986.

    Highest rated Super Bowls (in households)

    Super Bowl XVI (1982) – 49.1
    Super Bowl XVII (1983) – 48.6
    Super Bowl XX (1986) – 48.3
    Super Bowl XII (1978) – 47.2
    Super Bowl XIII (1979) – 47.1
    Super Bowl XLVI (2012) – 47.0
    Super Bowl XVIII (1984) – 46.4
    Super Bowl XIX (1985) – 46.4
    Super Bowl XLIV (2010) – 46.4
    Super Bowl XIV (1980) – 46.3

  • Joseph

    Last year’s NFC Championship Game began at 6:35 P.M. EST; this year’s game kicked-off at 3:05 P.M. EST.

    Although Saturday is the least-watched night of the TV week, I could see the NFL move one of the conference championship games next year to Saturday night (with a 7:35 P.M. EST kick-off), with a rotation so that one year, the AFC Championship is on a Saturday, the NFC on Sunday; the next year, the NFC is on Saturday, the AFC on Sunday, etc.

    In prime-time, even on a Saturday, such a conference final would score higher ratings than if it’s played on a weekend afternoon.

    A Saturday prime-time AFC/NFC Championship game would probably be the third most-watched TV show of the entire season, behind only the Super Bowl and the Sunday prime-time conference championship game.

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