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Volume 25 No. 239
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NFL Up 6% For Divisional Round Viewership; Fox Sets Digital Record

The NFL averaged 32.4 million viewers for the four divisional playoff games this weekend, up 6% from last season, which was the least-viewed divisional round since ’09. However, the four games this year are down from 36 million viewers two years ago. NBC and Fox were up on Saturday, but Sunday was a mixed bag, as Fox saw gains for Saints-Eagles and CBS was lower with the Patriots’ blowout win over the Chargers. Fox drew 38.2 million viewers in the late Sunday afternoon window, up 7% from Vikings-Saints last year (35.6 million viewers). It is the best late Sunday divisional window since Broncos-Steelers in ’16 (43 million). The game this year also drew an average minute audience of 681,735 viewers, passing Saturday’s Rams-Cowboys game as Fox Sports Digital’s most-streamed NFL Playoff game on record. Meanwhile, CBS drew 29.2 million viewers for Patriots-Chargers, marking the least-viewed early Sunday divisional game since at least the early part of the '00s. This year was the first time since '05 that the 1:00pm ET Sunday divisional window dipped below 30 million viewers (Austin Karp, THE DAILY).

NBC, CBS, Fox (x2)
NBC, Fox, CBS (x2)
NBC, CBS, Fox (x2)
NBC, Fox, CBS (x2)
NBC, CBS, Fox (x2)
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NFL Divisional Round Viewers

LOTS OF EYEBALLS: Patriots-Chargers earned a 45.9 local rating in Boston, the "highest rating of the season for the Patriots." The game also was the "highest-rated divisional-round game for the Patriots" since the '12 season (BOSTON GLOBE, 1/15). In K.C., Blair Kerkhoff notes a winter storm "knocked out power for tens of thousands" around the city on Saturday during Chiefs-Colts on NBC. However, the game still delivered a 56.1 rating in K.C. Indianapolis was "second in local market ratings at 44.5" (K.C. STAR, 1/15).

JUST WHAT THE DOCTOR ORDERED: In DC, Jerry Brewer writes the "most entertaining NFL season in recent memory is about to get better." Both conference title games "represent the best of a game undergoing a stunning modernization process." The NFL "lucked into this season." It has been "full of personality and high-caliber performance" (WASHINGTON POST, 1/15). In Boston, Tara Sullivan writes the NFL had been "written off everywhere from the Oval Office to the office water cooler." But the NFL "always prevails." Sullivan: "Just look at the story lines for next weekend. Forget about losing steam, the league is gaining more traction than ever" (BOSTON GLOBE, 1/15). In DC, Deron Snyder writes the NFL's final games of the season "figure to be pleasing" (WASHINGTON TIMES, 1/15).