NFL playoffs: AFC, NFC title games bring in over 55 million viewers for both CBS, FOX

Two intriguing games delivered lots of eyeballs for CBS and FOX

There were a lot of eyeballs watching the NFL's conference championship games on Sunday. A lot.

Both CBS Sports and FOX Sports announced massive viewerships for the Kansas City Chiefs-Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers-Detroit Lions games that decided who will be playing in Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas on Feb. 11.

The Chiefs' 17-10 victory drew a 25.5 rating, according to Sports Media Watch, which brought in 55.47 million viewers for CBS. That total eclipsed the previous AFC title game record — before streaming numbers were included — of 54.85 million for the New York Jets-Pittsburgh Steelers game in 2011.

According to CBS, the Chiefs-Ravens number peaked at 64.02 million at one point during the game. It is the second-most watched program on television since Super Bowl LVII. The 2023 NFC title game between the San Francisco 49ers and Philadelphia Eagles, which was played in the same afternoon window, pulled in a 22.7 rating and 47.5 million viewers.

Over in the NFC, viewers were glued to seeing whether the Lions could pull off the win or if the 49ers would complete their comeback as 56.32 million people tuned in on FOX to watch San Francisco's win. That total is up from the 53.13 million who watched the Chiefs-Cincinnati Bengals AFC title game in the same window last year.

According to SMW, Lions-49ers was the most-watched television program — non-Super Bowl category — since the 49ers-New York Giants NFC title game in 2012 that drew 57.64 million viewers.

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Excluding the Super Bowl, only three NFL games have averaged more viewers dating back to the 1991-92 season, all of them NFC championship games on FOX: the aforementioned 2012 matchup, Vikings-Saints in 2010 (57.93M) and Cowboys-49ers in 1995 (56.79M).

Viewership continues to be strong for the NFL with star power in the playoffs, intriguing teams and storylines to follow and, of course, Taylor Swift's presence at the Chiefs game.

Last year's Super Bowl between the Chiefs and Eagles had 115.1 million viewers across all platforms, according to Nielsen. Chiefs-49ers, a rematch from 2020, is setting up to be a viewership record for CBS and the NFL.