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Four games that were decided on the final possession helped the NFL deliver big ratings gains for the divisional playoff round on Saturday and Sunday.
The four games — on NBC and Fox Saturday, and NBC and CBS Sunday — averaged about 37.1 million viewers, a 21 percent increase over the same round last year (per the NFL, digital viewing increased the average to 38.2 million, for a 20 percent jump vs. 2021). The year-to-year boost follows a similar bump for the wild card round the previous week.
The Sunday primetime game on CBS between the Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills averaged 42.74 million viewers, making it the most watched divisional round game in five years (though until last year, Nielsen ratings didn’t include out-of-home viewing). It was up by 20 percent over the comparable window in 2021.
The Sunday afternoon game (Rams-Buccaneers) on NBC drew 38.14 million viewers, up 11 percent over the same broadcast window last year. On Saturday, the Bengals-Titans contest on CBS averaged 30.75 million viewers (up 16 percent year to year), while the 49ers-Packers contest in primetime on Fox drew 36.92 million — a 41 percent jump over the comparable game in 2021.
Following the Chiefs-Bills game Sunday, an episode of NCIS: Hawai’i on CBS drew season highs in both total viewers (9.79 million) and adults 18-49 (2.05), with the latter figure the best for an entertainment program on the broadcast networks so far this season. ABC aired original episodes of its Sunday lineup, and it was in line with season averages despite the huge audience for football on Fox.
Saturday Night Live drew 4.81 million viewers and a 0.92 rating in the 18-49 demographic for NBC Saturday, a tick below its season averages.
Bookmark THR.com/Ratings for more ratings news and numbers.
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