SBD/January 10, 2012/Media

CBS' Broncos-Steelers Marks Best NFL Wild Card Rating In 18 Years

Broncos OT win marks CBS' best Wild Card viewership on record

CBS earned a 24.0 final Nielsen rating and 42.4 million viewers for its coverage of the Broncos' 29-23 OT win over the Steelers in AFC Wild Card round during the late window Sunday, marking the highest-rated Wild Card game on any net in 18 years and most-viewed Wild Card game in at least 24 years (as far back as CBS records go). The 24.0 rating is up 9% from the comparable Packers-Eagles game in the late window last year, and up 40% from CBS’ Ravens-Chiefs Wild Card last year. The Broncos-Steelers game peaked at a 29.7 rating and 54.3 million viewers as the game concluded during the 8:00-8:13pm ET window. Fox finished with a 17.3 rating and 27.7 million viewers for its Giants-Falcons NFC Wild Card in the early window Sunday, up 1% in ratings, but down 2% in viewership compared to the 17.1 rating and 28.4 million viewers for Ravens-Chiefs on CBS in the early window last year. The 17.3 rating marks the best rating for a Sunday early window Wild Card game since Packers-Seahawks earned a 19.1 rating (29.3 million viewers) in ’04. Last year’s Packers-Eagles NFC Wild Card on Fox in the late Sunday window averaged a 22.1 rating and 39.3 million viewers, marking the net’s best Wild Card audience ever. The audience for Giants-Falcons peaked at a 19.3 rating in the 3:00pm window. Atlanta led all markets with a 30.6 local rating, while N.Y. earned a 24.8 rating. Milwaukee topped all non-home markets with a 29.5 rating (Austin Karp, THE DAILY). Fox Entertainment President Kevin Reilly said that he "‘can’t imagine’ Fox without the NFL -- and he raised the specter of retrans fees when acknowledging that sports costs in general continue to escalate.” Reilly: “It was a big reason why we feel that retrans was an important initiative for us. We’ve been getting the value out of retrans, and the retrans has, to a certain amount, allowed us to compete with what it takes to get live sports, which are going to be so critical going forward. It is a big part of live viewing” (CABLEFAX DAILY, 1/10).

SATURDAY FEVER: NBC averaged a 15.7 rating and 26.6 million viewers for its Wild Card doubleheader on Saturday, which was down 11% and 13%, respectively, from last year’s record-setting 17.6 rating and 30.6 million viewers. The average, however, ranks as the third-best Saturday Wild Card doubleheader since ’99. Saints-Lions on Saturday night earned an 18.2 rating and 31.8 million viewers, down 3% and 5%, respectively, from an 18.7 rating and 33.4 million viewers for Jets-Colts last year. Saints-Lions, however, ranks as the fourth-best Saturday Wild Card game audience ever (started in ’91). Earlier in the day, Texans-Bengals finished with a 13.5 rating and 21.9 million viewers, down 19% and 23%, respectively, from a 16.7 rating and 28.3 million viewers for Seahawks-Saints last year (Karp).

NFL WILD CARD WEEKEND RATINGS, VIEWERSHIP TREND
WINDOW
NET
MATCHUP
RATING
VIEWERS (000)
Saturday afternoon
NBC
Texans-Bengals
13.5
21,900
Saturday prime
NBC
Saints-Lions
18.2
31,780
Sunday early
Fox
Giants-Falcons
17.3
27,700
Sunday late
CBS
Broncos-Steelers
24.0
42,371
'11 WILD CARD
Saturday afternoon
NBC
Seahawks-Saints
16.7
28,304
Saturday prime
NBC
Jets-Colts
18.7
33,350
Sunday early
CBS
Ravens-Chiefs
17.1
28,384
Sunday late
Fox
Packers-Eagles
22.1
39,274
'10 WILD CARD
Saturday afternoon
NBC
Jets-Bengals
15.2
25,048
Saturday prime
NBC
Eagles-Cowboys
18.0
32,124
Sunday early
CBS
Ravens-Patriots
16.9
27,413
Sunday late
Fox
Cardinals-Packers
19.6
34,406
'09 WILD CARD
Saturday afternoon
NBC
Falcons-Cardinals
13.1
20,953
Saturday prime
NBC
Colts-Chargers
16.1
27,792
Sunday early
CBS
Ravens-Dolphins
15.0
23,893
Sunday late
Fox
Eagles-Vikings
17.6
30,026
'08 WILD CARD
Saturday afternoon
NBC
Redskins-Seahawks
14.0
22,994
Saturday prime
NBC
Jaguars-Steelers
15.0
25,736
Sunday early
Fox
Giants-Buccaneers
15.1
22,973
Sunday late
CBS
Titans-Chargers
16.7
26,628

 

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