Ratings Roundup: Chiefs-Bills Instant Classic Becomes Most-Watched NFL Divisional Game in Five Years on CBS

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 Chiefs-Bills classic on CBS sees 42.736 million viewers in the most-watched NFL Divisional Round game in five years, 49ers-Packers on Fox delivers 36.9 viewers in upset win, and more.

CBS Sports’ Best Postseason Start in 10 Years Continues With Massive Audiences for Divisional Playoffs

CBS Sports continued its strong NFL season viewership, including its best postseason start in a decade, by delivering massive audiences for the Divisional Playoffs, led by the Chiefs’ dramatic overtime victory versus the Bills.

The NFL on CBS presentation of Kansas City’s win over Buffalo on Sunday, Jan. 23 (6:41-10:02 PM, ET) is the most-watched Divisional Playoff game on any network in five years (Green Bay-Dallas, 1/15/17, 48.522), averaging 42.736 million viewers and up +18% versus last year’s comparable game window (Tampa Bay-New Orleans, 1/17/21, 36.300).

The audience for Bills-Chiefs peaked with 51.697 million viewers, the second consecutive week The NFL on CBS topped the 50-million viewer mark (50.229 million viewers for 49ers-Cowboys).

After registering its most-watched regular season in six years, CBS Sports is averaging 35.883 million viewers for its playoff games this season, the Network’s best postseason through the Divisional round in 10 years (36.086, 2011-12 NFL season) and its second-best on record (since 1987-88). The 35.883 million viewers marks an increase of +27% versus last year’s postseason viewership through the Divisional Round.

For the second consecutive week, Paramount+ delivered its most-streamed non-Super Bowl NFL weekend ever and Bills-Chiefs scored as its most-streamed non-Super Bowl game of all-time. The Divisional Playoffs recorded triple-digit year-over-year growth in total streams, streaming minutes and unique viewers from last year’s Divisional games.

Kansas City’s win over Buffalo is the most-watched television program on any network since Super Bowl LV on CBS and The NFL on CBS has recorded the only three programs with more than 40 million viewers during that span (Bills-Chiefs Divisional, 42.736 million viewers, 49ers-Cowboys Wild Card, 41.496 million viewers and Raiders-Cowboys on Thanksgiving, 40.802 million viewers).

The Bengals-Titans Divisional Playoff game on Saturday, Jan. 22 (4:33-7:31 PM, ET) averaged 30.752 million viewers, up +13% versus last year’s comparable game window (Green Bay-LA Rams, 1/16/21, 27.120) and is the most-watched Divisional Playoff game in the Saturday afternoon game window on any network in six years.

Viewership for Bengals-Titans peaked with 38.359 million viewers.

49ers-Packers on Fox Delivers This Weekend’s Largest NFL Divisional Round Viewership Gains

36,923,000 viewers tuned into Fox’s presentation of the NFC Divisional Playoff Game between the San Francisco 49ers and Green Bay Packers. This was the most-watched Saturday NFL Divisional Playoff game on any network and was Fox’s most-watched Saturday telecast of any kind.

The game was up +40% over last year’s comparable window featuring the Baltimore Ravens and Buffalo Bills (26,331,000). It was also up +36% over last year’s Saturday NFC Divisional Game on Fox between the Los Angeles Rams and Packers (27,120,000).

On digital, the matchup delivered the most-streamed NFC Divisional Game in Fox Sports history with an AMA of 1,410,166 across Fox, NFL, and Yahoo! Sports properties; up +27% over last year (1.10 million).

NFL Divisional Round Coverage Averages 38.2 Million Viewers for a Total Viewership of More Than 152 Million

For the Divisional Round of the NFL playoffs, the four games averaged 38.2 million viewers (TV+Digital) which resulted in a duplicated total of over 152 million*.

The 38.2 million average ranks as the highest Divisional Round average on record (dates back to 1988), and is up +20% vs. 2020 and up +12% vs. 2019.

Additionally, nearly half of all Americans using television in NFL windows during the Divisional Round were watching NFL games with a share of 49.3% – the highest share on record for the Divisional Round.

Digitally, the Divisional Round produced an average minute audience of 1.6 million across NFL, Yahoo Sports and broadcaster platforms – ranking as the highest digital AMA on record for the Divisional Round, and up +47% vs. 2020 and up +88% vs. 2019.

To date, the NFL playoffs are averaging 33.6 million viewers (TV+Digital) – ranking as the highest average through the Divisional Round since 2015-16 (34.4 million) and up +21% vs. 2020. There have been a total of 63.3 billion minutes of Super Wild Card Weekend and Divisional Round coverage consumed across TV+Digital – the highest on record through the Divisional Round, and up +20% vs. 2020 and up +29% vs. 2019.

Purdue-Indiana Scores Most-Watched College Hoops Game in FS1 History

954,000 viewers tuned in for Indian’s 68-65 victory over Purdue on Thursday, Jan. 20 on FS1. This game was the most-watched college basketball game in FS1 history.

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