UPDATED with the latest numbers. The return of divisional playoff football to LA proved a winner for Fox, and NBC’s final NFL telecast of the season also posted stellar numbers as the NFL’s TV ratings comeback shows no signs of faltering.
Fox’s broadcast of the Los Angeles Rams’ defeat of the Dallas Cowboys — the teams’ first playoff meeting in 33 years — drew a 17.9 rating/33 share in fast national ratings. Fox said it was best performance for a Saturday primetime divisional playoff game since 2012, a 23% improvement over the same slot in 2018, and is the biggest Saturday night audience in Fox’s 32-year history.
The game was also the most streamed NFL playoff contest ever on Fox, with an average minute audience of 618,673, an improvement of 7% over last weekend’s wild-card round.
The Rams, who moved back to LA in 2016 after playing 21 seasons in St. Louis, will face the winner of today’s Philadelphia Eagles-New Orleans Saints game in next weekend’s NFC Championship game on Fox.
NBC, meanwhile, also had plenty to crow about in the Kansas City Chiefs’ one-sided win over the Indianapolis Colts, which drew 29.6 total viewers, the network said. The viewership was the most for a Saturday NFL divisional game in three years, NBC said, and rose 8% over the same slot in 2018.
The network said its two playoff games this month averaged a total audience of 33.1 million, the second-highest mark in the 13 years that NBC has had Sunday Night Football and the playoff games that come with the package. The average gained 31% over last year’s viewership.
In Kansas City, the NBC affiliate posted a 56.1 rating/81 share, higher than for the team’s 2017 divisional game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Chiefs will host the first AFC Championship Game in the 46-year history of Arrowhead Stadium next weekend against the New England Patriots.
NFL ratings overall recorded a 5% gain in 2018, following consecutive down years in 2016 and 2017, which were marked by a surplus of mediocre games, the anthem kneeling controversy and grim news reports about concussions and player behavior.