NFL Divisional Round: How has the viewership changed from last year?

As the curtains fell on this year’s regular NFL season, leaving fans with a blend of memorable moments, the Wild Card and Divisional Round injected an extra dose of excitement among football fans.

Amidst heightened anticipation, the NFL Divisional Round of this season not only delivered on its promise of intense matchups but also surpassed expectations and etched its place in the annals of NFL viewership history.

How has NFL Divisional Round viewership changed from last year?

The NFL Divisional Round witnessed a notable surge in viewership, marking a positive trend for the league’s postseason. According to ESPN, this year’s Divisional Round garnered an impressive 40 million viewers (TV+Digital), marking a 7% increase over the previous year. This surge in viewership established a new record, dating back to 1988.

A standout matchup contributing to this increase was the clash between the Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills, which achieved a remarkable 10% gain in viewership compared to the equivalent game in the previous year.

In contrast to the Dallas Cowboys facing the San Francisco 49ers in the preceding season, this matchup captured the attention of a broader audience.

In total, the Divisional Round captivated an extensive viewership of 126.7 million, reflecting a 5% jump from the numbers reported two years ago.

The Saturday game on FOX featuring the Green Bay Packers and San Francisco 49ers emerged as a standout performer, attracting an average of 37.5 million viewers. This remarkable figure positions it as the most-watched Saturday NFL playoff game on record.

Additionally, Saturday’s other wild card round game between the Houston Texans and Baltimore Ravens drew 31.77 million viewers across ESPN, ABC, and ESPN+. Notably, this game etched its place in history as the most-watched ESPN game since the network began broadcasting NFL games in 1987.

Chiefs-Bills divisional round game sets the most-watched game record

The Chiefs’ 27-24 victory over the Bills has etched its name as the highest-rated game in NFL divisional round history. The game which aired on CBS and streamed on Paramount+ became the most-watched NFL divisional playoff game ever. It boasts an impressive viewership that exceeded 50 million being the first in the history of divisional round games.

The significance of this accomplishment was reported by CBS Sports, declaring it the most-watched program across all genres since Super Bowl LVII in February of the previous year. This remarkable feat surpassed the previous record set in 2017 during the Green Bay Packers vs. Dallas Cowboys matchup, which had 48.52 million viewers.

The Chiefs vs. Bills rivalry, marked by seven encounters since 2020, including three postseason battles, has consistently drawn attention. This season’s playoff clash between these two teams was not only a nail-biter featuring a wild Jason Kelce celebration but also etched its place as a historic moment in NFL viewership.

It’s not the first time that the Chiefs vs. Bills rivalry has made headlines. The teams’ last year’s Super Bowl matchup was the most-watched program on any network since the previous year’s Super Bowl. At a crucial point in the fourth quarter, the game averaged an impressive 56.25 million viewers.

In addition to the Chiefs vs. Bills showdown, the clash between the Detroit Lions and Tampa Bay Buccaneers emerged as the second highest-viewed NFL game over the weekend. The game drew an average of 40.4 million viewers across NBC TV, Peacock, NBC Sports Digital, and NFL Digital platforms. It marked a significant achievement for NBC Sports, standing as their most-watched divisional playoff game since 1994.

The weekend’s football spectacle has not only lived up to the expectations but also set new benchmarks in NFL viewership history.

The stage is now ready for the NFL Conference Championship. Stay tuned to get update on the intense rivalry between the Lions vs 49ers and Chiefs vs Ravens.

Shabiha Akter

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Shabiha, once a casual observer, has morphed into a die-hard NFL fan. She carefully dissects every play, trade, and strategy. Whether it's breaking down game highlights or predicting playoff outcomes, Shabiha is your go-to source for all things NFL.


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