Ratings Roundup: NFC Championship Hits Highest Since Super Bowl LIV, UFC 257 Shines on ABC
Ratings roundup is a rundown of recent rating news and is derived from press releases and reports around the industry. In this week’s edition, the NFC Championship game on Fox featuring Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers hits best rating since Super Bowl LIV; NBC achieves top indoor NHL audience in three years; and UFC 257 on ABC and its prelims bring in an impressive audience.
NFC Championship on FOX Soars with Best Rating Since Super Bowl LIV
After the game, the NFC Championship between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Green Bay Packers reached a 26.5/54 overnight rating, which is the best rating for any telecast since Super Bowl LIV. The number is up +5% since last year’s NFC Championship Game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Packers and up +5% from last year’s comparable window (Tennessee Titans vs. Kansas City Chiefs) (Twitter)
The game also reached an average audience of 46 million across FOX, FOX Deportes, FOX Sports streaming platforms, NFL Digital, and Verizon Media Mobile properties. The game peaked at 53 million viewers from 6:00-6:15 PM ET. On FOX, the matchup drew an average audience of 44.8 million, including connected TV platforms. (Fox Sports)
NHL on NBC Tops Three-Year Mark
NBC averaged a 0.95 rating and 1.71 million viewers for last Sunday’s Capitals-Penguins NHL regular season game, its first of the shortened season — the most-watched indoor regular season game since an Olympic-adjacent Penguins-Blues game three years ago (1.88M). The game averaged 1.73 million including additional streaming viewership.
Ratings increased 23% and viewership 43% from the same January weekend last year (Bruins-Penguins: 0.8, 1.20M). The game averaged a 12.05 rating in Pittsburgh and a 3.59 in Washington D.C., the markets’ highest rated indoor games on NBC since 2013 and 2011 respectively.
The same Capitals-Penguins matchup drew 222,000 on NBCSN Tuesday night, down 24% from Penguins-Flyers last year.
In other NBCSN action, Sabres-Flyers drew 339,000 on Martin Luther King Day, the top NHL game on the holiday in four years (2017 Capitals-Penguins: 414K). Bruins-Islanders chipped in 302,000, Blue Jackets-Red Wings 182,000 and Coyotes-Golden Knights just 134,000. On Wednesday, Oilers-Maple Leafs drew 226,000 (-16%) and Wild-Ducks 222,000. (SportsMediaWatch)
ABC’s UFC Debut Becomes Top Main Event Since Debut on ESPN
Last Saturday’s first-ever UFC main event on ABC was the most-watched on any network in nearly two years, averaging 1.22 million viewers. The last main event with a larger audience was ESPN’s first in February 2019 (1.50M). Ratings jumped 95% (to 0.7) and viewership 85% from the previous main event on ESPN2 last month (0.37, 658K).
The previous UFC main event on broadcast television — the final edition of UFC on FOX in December 2018 — averaged a 1.1 rating and 1.83 million, but that aired in primetime and did not face the NFL.
In other UFC action, a rare Wednesday afternoon main event averaged just 244,000 on ESPN — easily the smallest such audience since ESPN acquired rights. Beyond airing on a weekday afternoon, the telecast faced direct competition from the presidential inauguration. Morning prelims chipped in 199,000. (SportsMediaWatch)
Before the main card, the UFC 257 prelims on ESPN landed at No. 1 overall for programming on cable this past Saturday. The two-hour broadcast averaged 1.433 million viewers with a .54 rating in the coveted 18-49 year old demographic.
The peak for the prelims hit 1.7 million viewers during the featured bout between Arman Tsarukyan and Matt Frevola.
With an average of 1.433 million viewers, the UFC 257 prelims are now the fourth-highest rated broadcast for the company since inking a deal with ESPN in 2018. The only cards to earn higher ratings were the UFC 246 prelims with 1.767 million viewers, the UFC 247 prelims with 1.491 million viewers and the first ever UFC on ESPN card with 1.463 million viewers, which is just slightly ahead of the UFC 257 prelims. (MMA Fighting)