Demonstrating the continuing TV dominance of American football, Sunday night's NFL wild-card game averaged 47.1 million viewers. With these numbers, the game, broadcasted by Fox
(NASDAQ:FOXA) and featuring the San Francisco 49ers facing the Green Bay Packers (the 49ers won, 23 to 20), became the most watched television event since last year's Super Bowl on CBS
(NYSE:CBS), which attracted 108.41 million viewers.
At the height of Sunday night's viewership, the last 30 minutes of the game, 53.4 million Americans were tuned in. Additionally, Nielsen said on Monday that this was the largest audience for the first round of the NFL postseason in at least 25 years, and also represents a 24% increase over viewership of last year's first Sunday night game of the playoffs.
In fact, the whole weekend proved dominant for the NFL: The two wild card games played on Saturday (New Orleans Saints vs. Philadelphia Eagles, 26-24, and Indianapolis Colts vs. Kansas City Chiefs, 45-44), on NBC
(NASDAQ:CMCSA), reached a record average viewership of 30.8 million. Additionally, the early Sunday game on CBS, featuring the Cincinnati Bengals vs. the San Diego Chargers, had an average of 30.9 million viewers, making it the most viewed AFC wild-card game in 19 years (the Chargers won, 27 to 10).
Given these stellar numbers, the remainder of the playoffs, culminating in Super Bowl XLVIII on February 2, should be a very strong draw for Fox and NBC.
Follow me on Twitter: @JoshWolonick and @Minyanville
No positions in stocks mentioned.