January 20, 2014 12:37pm PT by Michael O'Connell
TV Ratings: NFL Conference Championship Games Soar
Sunday's football games proved a predictably massive draw for viewers. The AFC and NFC championship games, which decided the pairing for the 2014 Super Bowl, brought in big ratings for CBS and Fox, respectively.
The first game of the day, Denver's victory over New England, averaged 51.3 million viewers on CBS. That's the highest average for a CBS-aired AFC championship in 32 years and is behind only 2011's 54.9 million-strong AFC showdown between Pittsburgh and the New York Jets as the conference's best showing in recent history.
Compared to the early game last year, the NFC championship game between San Francisco and Atlanta, the game was up 22 percent from 42 million viewers. And looking at the 2013 AFC championship, which aired in the later window, the game was up 8 percent from 47.7 million viewers.
Fox's NFC championship game between Seattle and San Francisco proved an even bigger draw, thanks in no small part to the smaller margin of victory for the Seahawks. The game averaged 55.9 million viewers, an NFC best for Fox since 1995 -- not counting games that went into overtime -- and was up 33 percent from the NFC championship last year.
Seattle and Denver will now play one another on Feb. 2 in New York at Super Bowl XLVIII. Fox will air the game.