Four NFL playoff games last weekend attracted an average of 38.2 TV million viewers, the most ever for the divisional round of the league’s postseason.
Ratings were up 20% from last year and rose 12% from two years ago, the NFL said Tuesday in an email. The league said almost half of households using their televisions during NFL broadcasts were watching the four games.
The ratings are good news for media giants like CBS parent ViacomCBS Inc., Comcast Corp.’s NBC, Fox Corp. and Walt Disney Co.’s ESPN, which have made expensive long-term bets on the NFL’s popularity and count on the millions of viewers to draw in advertisers.
There was concern going into this season that viewer interest in football, America’s most-popular sport, was waning after NFL ratings fell the year before.
About 43 million viewers watched the Kansas City Chiefs’ overtime victory over the Buffalo Bills on CBS, giving the broadcaster the most-watched divisional playoff game in five years.
Thanks to that nail-bitter matchup on Jan. 23, CBS’s post-season NFL broadcasts have averaged 35.9 million TV viewers, up 27% from last year and its best in a decade, the network said Tuesday in a statement.
The playoffs continue Jan. 30 with the Chiefs playing the Cincinnati Bengals and the Los Angeles Rams playing the San Francisco 49ers for berths in the Super Bowl scheduled for Feb. 13.
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(Story updated with ratings from additional NFL playoff games)