The television audiences for the NFL playoffs and conference championship games reached record highs this year, according to the league and Nielsen. Over the first three weekends of the postseason, the games averaged 38.5 million viewers on television and digital platforms, representing a 9% increase from last year.
The AFC championship game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Baltimore Ravens drew an average of 55.47 million viewers on CBS, making it the most-watched AFC championship game in history. The previous record was set in the 2010 season when the Pittsburgh Steelers faced off against the New York Jets. The game also reached a peak audience of 64.02 million viewers, marking CBS's most-watched non-Super Bowl program since the 1994 Winter Olympics.
On the other hand, the NFC championship game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Detroit Lions on Fox averaged 56.69 million viewers, making it the most-watched NFC championship game since 2012. It also became the fourth most-watched non-Super Bowl telecast in Fox's history, peaking at 58.97 million viewers during the fourth quarter.
Overall, the conference championships saw an 11% increase in viewership compared to last year. CBS, which will broadcast the Super Bowl on February 11, recorded an average of 45.61 million viewers for its postseason games, marking the network's highest average since the NFL returned to CBS in 1998 and a 12% increase from last year.
These record-breaking viewership numbers indicate a continued strong interest in NFL football among audiences. The high levels of engagement demonstrate the enduring popularity of the sport and highlight the NFL's ability to captivate viewers across various platforms. With the Super Bowl approaching, it will be interesting to see if this upward trend in viewership continues.