NFL Ratings Roundup: Fox, CBS Cash in on High-Profile Divisional Playoff Matchups

During a ratings weekend heavily dominated by NFL football, FOX’s Giants-Packers NFC Divisional matchup on Sunday came out on top, recording the largest audience for a Divisional Playoff Game ever on any network. Over 45.1 million fans tuned in to see the Giants beat the Packers, and the 25.3/42 fast-national household rating/share makes it the highest-rated Divisional Playoff Game on any network since 1997’s Cowboys/Panthers game on FOX (27.6/49).

The game was up 5% in ratings and 4% in viewership from last year’s comparable game (NYJ/NE: 24.2, 43.463M, CBS). It’s also the most-watched broadcast of any kind since Super Bowl XLV in February. The broadcast peaked at a staggering 27.5/44 rating/share and averaging 49.9 million viewers from 7:00 – 7:30 PM ET.

FOX’s Sunday game wasn’t the only telecast to top recordbooks, as the 49ers dramatic win over the Saints on Saturday as the most-watched Saturday NFL Divisional Playoff Game in 24 years and the highest rated in 16 years, according to fast-nationals. The game drew a 20.5 rating and 35.6 million viewers, up 6% in ratings and 5% in viewership from last year’s comparable game (BAL/PIT: 19.4, 34.009M, CBS). The game peaked at a 23.6/40/42.5 million viewers from 7:30-8 PM ET.

Through three telecasts, the 2012 NFC Playoffs on FOX are averaging 21.2/39 and 36.5 million viewers, the highest since 1997 (21.5/44) and most-watched ever…

Although CBS did not fare as well over the weekend, the network’s two games still posted solid ratings. The Patriots blowout of the Broncos notched an 18.5 final rating and 34.161 million viewers on CBS, up 9% in ratings and 11% in viewership from last year’s comparable game (GB/ATL: 17.0, 30.817M, FOX). The game ranks as the most-viewed Saturday night Divisional Round game since the window was created in the 2001-02 season, and the second-most viewed Saturday Divisional Round game — regardless of timeslot — of the past decade.

Sunday’s Ravens-Texans game earned a 19.0 final rating and 30.983 million viewers on CBS — down a tick in ratings and 5% in viewership from last year’s comparable game (SEA/CHI: 19.1, 32.493M, FOX), making it the only Divisional Round game of the week to have a decline in ratings or viewership compared to last year…

…NBA TV’s Jan. 14 match-up between the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers delivered the most-watched regular season game in the network’s history, with 756,000 total viewers. The previous record of 722,000 total viewers was set on Dec. 30 for a Bulls-Clippers matchup. Through Jan. 17, NBA TV is averaging 383,000 total viewers (up 68%) and 293,000 households (up 70%)…

…Last Thursday’s Canucks/Blues NHL regular season game earned a 5.56 rating in on Fox Sports Midwest in the St. Louis market, the second-highest rating ever for a Blues telecast on the network. Only Sharks/Blues in November 2010 (5.6) drew a higher rating…

…In the midst of what seems to be a comeback season, the Philadelphia 76ers are averaging a 2.4 rating on Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia through last week, up 60% from the start of the 2010-11 season. Last Wednesday’s 76ers/Knicks game earned a 3.6 local rating, the team’s highest local rating since 2009.

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