With one NFL conference championship game coming down to the last minute and the other going into overtime, no doubt the ratings would please CBS and Fox.
Oh, and the NFL.
And they didn't disappoint. Nielsen has reported that the games were indeed winners for the networks in which they aired, with the 49ers vs NY Giants getting the upper ratings edge. Of course, being the later game and in prime time, for most if it, works to their advantage. On Sunday nights, prime time starts at 7 p.m. ET/6 p.m. CT while the rest of the week, it's 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT. Meanwhile, Sunday nights has more bodies sitting home watching. That doesn't mean Sunday night shows are the highest rated, but it helps when a sporting event is on.
They key here is that the viewer numbers is for one network and that will dwarf the combined numbers of Tuesday night's State of the Union. Sad but true, for some. But, truth is, when you air a presidential speech, many stations hop on board and you do get big numbers, but to be fair to each station, you must break it down.
So, let's say 38-40 million people watch the speech. That sounds great but it is all the stations combined. This number for football is ONE network.
Now, the number for the Fox game, which pitted the San Francisco 49ers vs the New York Giants, averaged 56.7 million viewers. That made it the most watch divisional championship since 1996.
From Nielsen:The overtime battle scored an average audience of 57.6 million viewers to rank as the third most-watched Conference Championship Game ever, after the 1982 Cowboys-49ers NFC Championship Game (68.7 million viewers on CBS) and 2010’s overtime Vikings-Saints NFC Championship (57.9 million viewers on Fox). Meanwhile, the rating for Sunday’s battle for the NFC crown ties with 2010’s game (Vikings/Saints - 30.6/45) as the highest-rated NFC Championship Game since 1996 (Packers/Cowboys - 33.3/58). The game on CBS, which featured the New England Patriots vs the Baltimore Ravens averaged 48.7 million, and remember, it was an afternoon game. The 48.7 million viewers for the 2012 AFC Championship game also was the second-highest viewer average (behind last year’s 54.9 million for New York Jets-Pittsburgh) for the AFC Championship game in 30 years (1/10/1982; 51.6 million viewers; San Diego-Cincinnati; NBC).
The result is, NFL rates and is the king of TV ratings in the United States.
Last year's Super Bowl was the most-watched TV show in American history. These are U.S. numbers only.
This year's entire NFL playoffs averaged more viewers than any other in history as well.
My guess right now is that the Super Bowl early numbers will be 110-112 million in the U.S. Then, judging on the game, the peak numbers, and the way this season has rated, could go even higher.