NFL Post-Season Powers Into TV Hit Parade

By Jay Stuart | January 8, 2019

How powerful a draw is National Football League (NFL) post-season action? When the late afternoon play-off game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Chicago Bears went over the 7 pm threshold into U.S. primetime on Sunday it pulled 30 million more viewers than the nearest competitor.

The overspill of the Eagles’ victory on NBC had 37.68 million viewers, while news magazine 60 Minutes, which has anchored Sunday evenings for CBS for 50 years, had 7.07 million.

The picture was similar on Saturday when the wild-card game between the Seattle Seahawks and the Dallas Cowboys aired in primetime on Fox. The Dallas win had 24.57 million viewers from 8-11 pm. The top competitor was 48 Hours, another CBS news magazine, starting at 10 pm and pulling 3.50 million.

Before the play-offs kicked off,  it was already a good season for NFL’s broadcast partners with the five TV packages showing a 5% audience bump for the regular season and an average of 15.8 million viewers per game (excluding the London games).

The November 4 contest between the Green Bay Packers and New England Patriots on NBC averaged 23.7 million viewers, the largest prime-time audience on any network since the Academy Awards on ABC last March.