Sunday's airings of the AFC and NFC Championships dominated all of television Sunday, becoming the first and second highest rated & viewed broadcasts in the United States since Super Bowl LI back in February 2017.
The AFC Championship game between the New England Patriots and Jacksonville Jaguars, aired at 3pm on CBS. The game scored a 27.3/50 household rating/share in the overnights and was later adjusted to a 24.3 rating, and peaked nationally with a 31.8/54 rating/share between 5:30 and 6:00 pm.
Though it was steady with last year's AFC Championship (24.4 rating), this year's figure is more impressive considering it occurred in the generally less-watched afternoon game while last year's AFC game was in the evening.
In terms of total viewers, this year's game saw 44.082 million from across the country, including 16.32 million viewers in the adults 18-49 demographic. That, too, was just off from last year's game which scored 47.951 million national viewers with 19.78 million adults 18-49 in the evening slot. Two years ago, when the AFC Championship was previously played in the afternoon slot, that Patriots/Broncos game managed 53.3 million viewers with 21.11 million adults 18-49.
Looking at the Boston market, the game averaged a 50.1 rating/75 share with approximately 2.3 million viewers. Expectedly, that figure is up versus last week's 43.5 rating and 1.92 million viewers, but down slightly from last year's AFC Championship which notched a 51.6 rating/73 share in the Boston area: what is still the second highest-rated non-Super Bowl telecast in Boston history (behind 2004's 52.0 rating in the AFC Championship).
In Jacksonville, the game notched a 47.6 rating/70 share. The market is too small for Nielsen to release data on individual viewers, but the game was seen by 333,000 households in the area. The NFC Championship game notched a 22.4/31 rating/share with 157,000 households in Jacksonville.
Over on FOX, the NFC Championship scored a 21.71/35 household rating/share with approximately 42.298 million viewers, including 17.297 million adults 18-49 (13.4/42 rating/share). The game began with 36.192 million viewers for its first half-hour and peaked with 47.737 million viewers just before half-time. An additional 78,000 viewers watched the game on FOX Deportes and 468,085 streamed the game through various FOX platforms, according to a press release from FOX Sports. Combined, the game averaged 42,849,086 viewers, off from last year's combined 46,283,000 (326,327 streaming audience).
Looking specifically at the 18-49 demographic, the game had approximately 2/3 male viewers (16.8/50) to 1/3 female viewers (10.1/32). That ratio stayed consistent when looking at men 18-34 (13.2/52) and women 18-34 (8.1/33). These results were down, on average, about 2 points from last year's evening game which had a 18.7/52 in men 18-49, a 12.2/35 in women 18-49, a 14.7/52 in men 18-34, and a 10.1/35 in women 18-34.
The three-hour telecast averaged a 43 share in adults 18-34, a 42 share in adults 18-49, a 41 share in adults 25-54, and a meager 33 share in adults over 50. Compared with 2017's 'AFC Championship' game, those results are down 1 point in both the 18-34 demo and 18-49 demo (44 share and 43 share), 2 points in the 25-54 demo (43 share), and 3 points in the 50+ demo (36 share).
In Philadelphia, the game rated a 50.3/69 in households with approximately 2.902 million viewers in the city's metropolitan area. About 2.262 million stayed around to watch the post-game on the local CBS affiliate and another 228,000 watched post-game on NBC Sports Philadelphia.
Minneapolis led all championship markets with an impressive 54.4 rating/76 share for the game, translating to 1.741 million viewers in that area. As can be expected, only about 32% of them (560,000) stuck around to watch post-game.
Nationally, the post-game was watched by 18.879 million viewers, with a 10.2/17 household rating/share, and 6.3/20 adults 18-49 rating/share.
One interesting thing of note is that persons using television has dramatically dropped the past three years. In 2016, approximately 37% of people 18-49 who owned televisions had them turned on during the NFC Championship game. In 2017, that figure dropped to 34.1% during the AFC Championship, and this past Sunday, it was at 30.9%; no discernible increase from any other Sunday this season.
Source: Nielsen Media Research