TV Ratings: CBS Grabs Record Audience for NFL Divisional Playoff

CBS drew the largest audience on record for an NFL divisional playoff game with Sunday’s telecast of the Kansas City Chiefs’ win over the Buffalo Bills.

The game averaged 50.39 million viewers, surpassing the previous divisional round high of 48.52 million for a 2017 game between the Dallas Cowboys and Green Bay Packers (with the significant caveat that Nielsen didn’t measure out of home viewing prior to 2020). CBS’ telecast was up about 10 percent over last year’s Sunday primetime game (45.64 million for the Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers on Fox).

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CBS’ broadcast was also the largest TV audience since last year’s Super Bowl, although that mark may fall in a few days with the NFL’s conference championship games on tap. It capped a huge weekend for the league, which averaged better than 40 million viewers (including streaming) for the four games in the divisional round.

ABC, ESPN and ESPN2’s telecast of the Baltimore Raven’s victory over the Houston Texans Saturday afternoon topped 32 million viewers, and Fox’s primetime Saturday game (Packers-49ers) came in at 37.54 million. On Sunday afternoon, NBC and Peacock delivered 40.4 million viewers for the Detroit Lions’ win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (a breakdown of the broadcast and streaming figures wasn’t available at publication time). The four-game average is about 10 percent higher than a year ago and the highest since at least 2015.

The divisional round follows a regular season that grew its TV audience by 7 percent vs. the 2022 season and a wild card round that was up 8 percent year to year. Last year’s conference championship games averaged a little over 50 million viewers.

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